Successful Non-Congregate Meal Service Models for Rural Areas: Implementation Guide

In approved states beginning summer 2023, Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and NSLP Seamless Summer Option (SSO) sponsors can operate non-congregate programs in rural communities without access to a congregate meal site.

For more information, check out USDA's guidance: 

This resource outlines effective models for non-congregate meal service. Use this guide to find strategies and tactics to execute a successful non-congregate summer meals program in your rural community.

Please reach out to your state agency to confirm the availability of non-congregate meal service and allowable models. Note: States are not required to make the non-congregate option available this summer. State agencies had to submit a plan to USDA for approval by April 1, 2023 to allow non-congregate meal service in summer 2023.

This resource includes:

  • Important definitions related to non-congregate meal service and rural areas
  • Considerations for non-congregate meal service
  • Meal service models (descriptions, tips, and considerations)
    • Drive-thru or crubside pick-up
    • Walk-up distributions
    • Mobile route distributions
    • Direct home delivery
  • Logistical considerations including equipment lists
  • Communication strategies
  • Tips for partnerships