October 04, 2021

Nearly 85 million healthy meals fed to vulnerable Missourians during COVID-19 response

Number of meals served to children more than doubled from 2019 to 2020


For Immediate Release:
October 4, 2021 

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services


JEFFERSON CITY, MO – Today, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) reported 84,597,200 meals have been served through the hard work of the Bureau Community Food and Nutrition Services (CFNA) during the COVID-19 Response. CFNA partnered with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) program operators around the state to not only continue critical nutrition programs, but also expand them where they were needed most.

“A healthy lifestyle starts with the basic nutrition,” said Donald Kauerauf, Director of DHSS. “I’m proud of the team here at DHSS for identifying the needs of Missourians and working creatively with USDA to ensure our most vulnerable Missourians received the food necessary to sustain them through this public health emergency.”

USDA offered program flexibilities to allow for parents and guardians to pick up meals for children or adults (adult day care centers), delivery to children or adults, flexible meal times and a wider variety of menu items.

Key expansions and results from CFNA:

  • Summer Food Service Program (SFSP): for the first time, SFSP began operating year-round in March 2020 to provide free meals to children. SFSP continued for 18 months through September of 2021.
    • Summer 2019: 3,447,394 meals served in May and June.
      • 2019 Total: 4,753,488 meals served to children during normal summer food operations. 
    • Summer 2020: 10,206,835 meals served in May and June.
      • 2020 Total (including summer months): 52,215,892 SFSP meals served to children during extended operations.
      • FY21 Total (October 2020 to June 2021): 71,786,527 meals served to children during extended operations. 
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program’s (CACFP) At-Risk Afterschool Program: expanded to reach beyond low income areas to reach all children in need.
    • FY 2019: 4,805,882 meals served
    • FY 2020: 6,021,467 meals served
    • FY 2021: 12,810,673 meals served
  • CACFP’s Emergency Shelters Program: added additional ages to meet the growing need to feed children and adults under the age of 25, especially those needing the assistance of shelters.
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): provided food packages to eligible adults ages 60 and up, while maintaining safety.