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  • Writer's pictureElyse Homel Vitale

Home Delivered Meals: New CA Guidance

Updated: Apr 21, 2020

April 17th the California Department of Education (CDE) offered (via email) clarifying guidance regarding the home delivery of CACFP meals during the COVID-19 crisis.

Offering delivered meals is allowed in California, but must ensure that the privacy and safety of participants is safeguarded. CDE requires program operators must have:

  1. Written consent (e.g., a letter, consent form, or email) from the participant or his/her guardian before meals can be delivered. The consent must be obtained by the program operator or CACFP administrative staff and may not be obtained by a delivery driver or by other CACFP staff unless confidentiality can be assured.

  2. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). If the program operator uses an external organization or non-staff, they must have a MOU between themselves and the person or organization doing the delivery. The MOU must include provisions that protect confidential information, (e.g., what information can be disclosed, how the information may be used, how the information will be protected, and penalties for unauthorized disclosure).


Important Reminders from the CDE about getting started with non-congregate meals

In order to use the waiver for meal pickup or delivery, program operators must complete the online COVID-19 waiver application and select the option for non-congregate meals. If program operators will offer or deliver meals at times that differ from what has been approved in the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System, they should also select the meal service times waiver option in the same waiver application. The waiver application is on the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division COVID-19 CACFP Waiver(s) Application web page.

  • Program operators that have already received approval for the non-congregate meals and meal service times waivers do not need to complete the waiver application again. 

After completing and submitting the waiver application, program operators that wish to use meal delivery must request to use that option by getting written approval from their assigned CACFP specialist. A request should be sent to the specialist by email. Program operators should not begin meal delivery until they receive approval from their specialist. 

Program operators should keep copies of the confirmation emails they receive after they apply to use the waivers—in addition to the meal delivery approval email from their CACFP specialist—as documentation of approval to serve and claim delivered meals.

Program operators may provide meals by mail, delivery service, or hand-delivery by CACFP staff, volunteers, community organizations, or others. Please note, the child or adult participant does not have to be present for the meal delivery.

Finally, the CDE reminds program operators that they must adhere to all state and local food safety requirements as applicable to meal delivery and provision of off-site meals. Under the non-congregate waiver, the home delivery flexibility is effective immediately and will remain in effect until June 30, 2020, or until expiration of the federally declared public health emergency, whichever is earlier.

Note: The requirements are strictly sponsor-level; the providers don't have to do anything except give you written consent for the delivery. Contact Information If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your CACFP specialist by email at

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