Summer Non-Congregate Feeding Program

Summer 2024 Non-Congregate Request Form and Resources Now Available

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. Before submitting the form, all Contracting Entities should complete the following:
  • Using the site mapper, first validate that the intended site is rural and is more than 2 miles away from the next nearest site.
  • Read the newly released 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.

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.

Details for Serving Non-Congregate Meals in 2024
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently issued an interim final rule, solidifying the implementation of non-congregate meal service in rural areas through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program Seamless Summer Option (SSO). This rule marks a significant step forward in ensuring access to nutritious meals for children residing in remote and underserved regions. TDA is currently updating program guidance and will release further details soon. 

Some districts are mandated by state law to provide summer meals or receive a waiver. Districts that are planning to request a waiver for summer 2024 should evaluate the summer rural non-congregate meal service as an option. 

Click here to access a recording of the Nov. 9 webinar.


On December 29, 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, authorized a permanent, non-congregate meal service through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO) for rural areas with no congregate meal service. In summer 2023, TDA used the discretion provided to States in the Appropriations Act and subsequent guidance from USDA to create a Non-Congregate Feeding Pilot Program in rural areas where no congregate service existed. This pilot program allowed TDA to gather data and establish an infrastructure for a future permanent program while awaiting permanent regulatory changes.

Interim Federal regulation changes pertaining to rural non-congregate feeding were introduced December 29, 2023. While USDA is accepting comments on this Interim Final Rule through April 29, the regulatory changes in the Interim Rule will be in effect for Summer 2024. Using the infrastructure and data gathered from the Summer 2023 Pilot, as well as lessons learned during the pandemic, TDA has now established a permanent rural non-congregate feeding program and application process that aligns with federal regulation.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help.

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:, 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
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