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.

April 10, 2024 - Public Notice of Waiver Request to Allow for Non-Congregate Feeding during Extreme Heat or Poor Air Quality Events
TDA is requesting a waiver from USDA to allow non-congregate feeding at SFSP and SSO sites if an official Heat Advisory, Heat Warning, or Air Quality warning is issued by the National Weather Service. If approved, TDA will update its Extreme Heat Waiver request form to include air quality concerns. Summer operators must submit this form with proof of a weather or air quality event in order to claim any non-congregate meals served on those days. A form must be submitted for each day non-congregate meals were served.


April 5, 2024 - RELEASE: Rural Summer Non-Congregate Request Form and Resources
The request form for eligible SFSP and SSO operators wanting to serve non-congregate summer meals in rural areas this summer is now open and available on the
Summer Non-Congregate Feeding Program page. Before submitting the form, Contracting Entities should complete the following:


  • Using the Summer 2024 Non-Congregate Eligibility Map, first validate that the intended site is rural and is more than 2 miles away from the next nearest site.
  • Read the posted Non-Congregate FAQs very carefully. Requirements for non-congregate feeding have changed since non-congregate feeding was allowable statewide during the pandemic. Operators should know what is expected of a successful non-congregate site and evaluate its operations to determine if the site can be in compliance. Note that these FAQs serve as the official "handbook" for Summer Non-Congregate service until updates to the official program handbooks can be made.
  • If the site is rural and in good standing, ensure that a site application has been submitted in TX-UNPS prior to submitting the Non-Congregate Request Form. Sites must be approved or conditionally approved within TX-UNPS prior to being approved for non-congregate service.

All interested operators are encouraged to register for the Overview of Summer Non-Congregate Feeding webinar being held April 17, 2024, at 2:00 pm. Please register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_ww6JyNsRSIeuhzZGwaN8Xg

An additional presentation will also be given at this year’s MegaCon conference. Operators are encouraged to start preparing now. After reading the FAQs, think about flexibilities that make sense for your site, procedures that must be developed, and strategic site locations. Note that the application process requires more information than years past per guidance from USDA. Please consult with your Education Service Center about any questions you may have after reading through all of TDA's guidance.

February 9, 2024 - RELEASE: School Data for Area Eligibility Report
TDA must, on an annual basis, publish a list of schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) in which at least one-half of the children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. The School Data for Area Eligibility 2023-2024 report, based on October 2023 claims data for non-CEP schools and the April 2023 CEP ISP report for CEP schools, has been posted to SquareMeals in the following locations:


January 4, 2024 - RELEASE: NEW Duplicative Costs FAQ
TDA has released
 a set of FAQs related to duplicative costs. A duplicative cost is an unallowable expense that results from a Contracting Entity (CE) paying for the same service under multiple contracts using federal funding. Duplicative costs occur when a CE enters a contract for a service currently provided by TDA or partners of TDA, including Education Service Centers (ESCs) and the Institute of Child Nutrition (ICN). The Duplicative Costs FAQs are posted on the NSLP, CACFP, and Summer Programs Resources pages (under Policy Documents). This guidance will also be added to Program handbooks in future updates.

October 26, 2023 - RELEASE: New Micro-Purchase Log
TDA has released a new Micro-Purchase Log for SFSP on the Summer Meals Program Administration/Forms page. This optional form allows Contracting Entities to track all informal micro-purchase transactions and associated information throughout the Program Year.

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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