School districts will be able to provide free meals through the end of the year following recent action by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Previously set to expire at the end of December, the USDA will continue its school feeding program waivers through June 30, 2021 as school districts navigate challenges including health and safety, staffing, and technology, according to the Department of Education.

“Throughout the COVID-19 mitigation response, these waivers have worked well for schools navigating many changes. Whether students are learning from home, at the school or a mix of both, these flexibilities will keep kids fed,” said Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Hungry kids can’t learn. Because of programs like this, no Pennsylvania student should go hungry.”

First Lady Frances Wolf advocated for the expanded program alongside 17 other first partners and spouses, according to the Department of Education.

Citing information from Feeding America, food insecurity is up by more than 57% among Pennsylvania’s children and more than 45% among the general public compared to 2018 statistics.