Policy and Handbooks for Summer Meal Programs
Policy Updates and News   

All the most current resources you need to successfully operate the Summer Meal Programs are available here. TDA keeps this page updated with any new policy updates and news, including the following:

  • Handbook release notices with update summaries
  • Form release notices
  • Brand new policy updates that haven’t yet been updated within the handbooks
  • FAQs and other resources, as required

Please bookmark this page and check back periodically.


August 4, 2023 - RELEASE: Updated Summer 2023 Frequently Asked Questions
An updated set of Summer 2023 FAQs is now available here:


Note the FAQs are now only available on this page. TDA will pin this entry to the top of this Policy Updates and News module and update as required. Please bookmark this page and check back frequently.

UPDATED - July 18, 2023 - RELEASE: New Form to Request Non-congregate Feeding during Extreme Heat
On July 10, TDA received a waiver allowing for non-congregate service at SFSP or SSO sites that meet the following criteria when experiencing dangerous levels of heat:


  • Sites are outdoors and exposed to the weather.
  • There are no alternative, temperature-controlled sites at which to provide congregate summer service.
  • The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Heat Advisory, Excessive Heat Warning, or Excessive Heat Watch for the area. CEs requesting this waiver must maintain proof of NWS alerts within their documentation, and TDA will verify that a notice was issued prior to approving a waiver.

No non-congregate service waiver will be approved for service prior to July 10, 2023. For any non-congregate service between July 10 and July 18, when TDA first announced the availability of the waiver, CEs must provide written documentation of an NWS alert before being approved.

CEs must submit a single form for each day that non-congregate service occurs. While the CE does not have to wait for approval to serve non-congregate meals, if TDA discovers that any of the above criteria have not been met, meals served on those days will be disallowed.

Note that meals served under this waiver must be grab-and-go in nature and served directly to children. Parent/Guardian pickup without a child present is not allowable under this waiver. Additionally, only a single day’s meals may be bundled at a time. Multi-day bundling is not allowed.

The request form can be accessed here -
 https://form.jotform.com/231936076644159 - and on the Summer Meal Programs Administration/Forms table located here: https://squaremeals.org/Programs/Summer-Meal-Programs/Administration-Forms. Please contact SNPWaivers@texasagriculture.gov with any issues submitting the form.

Finally, approval to use this waiver is not contingent on whether or not the CE indicated in its application the intent to participate in the heat demonstration project for Summer 2023. USDA did not implement the heat demonstration project in 2023.

Remaining COVID-19 Flexibilities and Keep Kids Fed Act Provisions Expire June 30, 2023

All waivers and flexibilities associated with the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency and the Keep Kids Fed Act (KKFA) of 2022 expire June 30, 2023. These include the following:

  • SSO operators will no longer be reimbursed at the SFSP reimbursement rates.
  • Non-congregate waivers associated with a specific COVID outbreak are no longer available.
  • All program operators must return to onsite monitoring as required by regulation. However, USDA has issued guidance on what aspects of a monitoring review can continue offsite:

TDA Submitting Summer Waiver Requests to USDA – June 21, 2023

As required by federal regulation, TDA is posting public notification of two waiver being submitted to the USDA Food and Nutrition Service related to Summer service:

  • Waiver of Unanticipated School Closure (USC) regulations – This is a request to give TDA the discretion during a USC to:
    • Allow non-congregate service.
    • Allow service at a school site.
    • Allow USC service during August, September, and May (regulations only allow USC service between October and April).
    • Waive area eligibility requirements during a USC.
  • Non-congregate feeding during extreme heat/weather – In absence of the heat demonstration project in Summer 2023, TDA is requesting a waiver to allow for non-congregate feeding at SFSP and SSO sites on days in which a weather advisory has been issued.

New SFSP Forms and Resources Available - May 29, 2023

The following forms and resources have been added to the Summer Meals Administration and Forms page:

  • Participant Notification Templates for Closed Enrolled Sites (area eligible and non-area eligible) and Camp Sites
  • Prototype Household Application for Closed Enrolled and Camp sites (can be printed or used as fillable PDF)
  • Sample First Two Weeks Site Visit Form
  • Sample Site Review Form
Please review the recently updated FAQs to learn more about how these resources should be used. TDA is in the process of updating the SFSP Supplemental Guide to include these resources.

CACFP and SFSP Invitation for Bid (IFB) prototypes updated - May 25, 2023
The Invitation for Bid (IFB) prototypes for both CACFP and SFSP were updated to include full Civil Rights assurance statements from FNS Instruction 113-1. Additionally, in accordance with 7 CFR Part 225.6(l)(7), the SFSP IFBs added that either party could terminate the contract for convenience with a 60-day advance notification.

The CACFP IFB prototypes can be found here:

The SFSP IFB prototypes are located here:


SFSP Supplemental Handbook Update - April 5, 2023 - The SFSP Supplemental Handbook was updated to add qualification criteria for operating a closed enrolled site in an income-eligible area, correct bid thresholds, and update rural/urban designation of two counties. Specific updates are listed in the new Log of Section Updates section at the beginning of the handbook

USDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Handbooks  Minimize 
To read the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) handbooks, visit the USDA SFSP handbooks page at https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfsp/handbooks.

TDA Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) Supplemental Handbook  Minimize 

Within the TDA SFSP Supplemental Handbook, TDA provides additional guidance that clarifies and/or supplements policy provided by USDA in the Administrative Guidance for Sponsors (AGS) and policy memos. The TDA SFSP Supplemental Handbook models the organizational structure of AGS, for the CE’s ease of use.

USDA Policy Memos  Minimize 
USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issues policy memoranda to provide guidance on implementing SFSP. Click here to see these memos on the USDA site.

Seamless Summer Option (SSO) Policy  Minimize 
For guidance on operating the SSO, CEs should refer to Section 11 of the Administrator’s Reference Manual (ARM) by clicking here. This section of the ARM also provides guidance on the Texas Summer Mandate.

Is a food item creditable? Find out with the Food Buying Guide

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help. Additional translations services available as well.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

1. Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
2. Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
This institution is an equal opportunity provider.
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