Afterschool Suppers and Snacks
...bridge the hunger gap between lunch and dinner for children aged 18 and under who participate in afterschool programs by providing federal funds to community- and faith-based groups, schools, and public recreation centers so they can serve nutritious snacks and meals. Children of low-income families need nutritional support outside of school hours, when many parents must work long hours at multiple jobs to make ends meet. By serving nutritious snacks and meals, afterschool programs use food to draw children into neighborhood programs that keep them safe and engaged.
The Afterschool Meal Program is available through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and is administered through D.C.'s Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) — Wellness and Nutrition Services.
What's happening with afterschool nutrition programs in D.C.?
Every single eligible D.C. public school participates in the afterschool supper program. Additionally, many public charter schools and community-based organizations also participate in the program, ensuring that thousands of District children have access to free, afterschool meals. But, many more afterschool programs and the families they serves can still benefit from this program. The D.C. Hunger Solutions’ Afterschool Meal Guide can help your organization enroll.
Just like for afterschool snack reimbursement, afterschool programs must include educational or enrichment programming and be located in communities where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free or reduced price meals to be eligible for Afterschool Meal Program reimbursement. To find out if your program is eligible, contact Norma Birckhead, CACFP Manager, 202-442-4010. D.C. Hunger Solutions is here to help with program application, implementation, and outreach efforts.
What Are the Nutritional Guidelines of an Afterschool Meal?
All meals served must comply with USDA nutrition guidelines and include:
- 1 serving of milk (2% or less)
- 2 servings of fruits and or vegetables
- 1 serving of grains
- 1 serving of protein
An afterschool meal can be served hot or cold, and can be as simple as a turkey sandwich, baby carrots, an apple, and low-fat milk. For afterschool meal ideas, download FRAC’s model supper menus.
What is the Reimbursement Rate for Afterschool Meals?
All meals served through the At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program are reimbursed at the “free” rate of $3.07, plus an additional $0.23 in commodities or cash-in-lieu of commodities. The reimbursement rate for meals served through CACFP is adjusted annually.
When Can Afterschool Meals Be Served?
Afterschool meals can be served to children in programs operating after school, on weekends, and during school holidays. The meals can be served at anytime during the program.
Should Programs That Currently Utilize the Snack Program Serve Meals?
Yes. The Afterschool Meal Program is an excellent opportunity to provide additional nutrition to children in afterschool programs. These meals provide children with the nutrition they need to stay focused and energetic throughout the program. Depending on the length of your program, you may be able to provide both a snack and a meal. Serving meals is easier than you think. For more information, download the fact sheet Moving from Afterschool Snack to a Meal: It is easier than you think! (pdf). You can also read about successful afterschool meal programs on the Food Research and Action Center's website.
D.C. Hunger Solutions can help by:
- providing outreach materials to inform your network about the afterschool nutrition programs;
- giving presentations to your network about the benefits and how to participate in the afterschool nutrition programs;
- providing afterschool programs with information on nutrition programs, including our series of four lessons on healthy snacking;
- recruiting new program sponsors that serve as fiscal intermediaries between one or more sites and the city; and
- advocating for inclusion of afterschool nutrition programs in city-wide afterschool advocacy efforts.
Help us spread the word:
- Learn more by downloading the issue brief: Afterschool Nutrition in Washington, D.C. - An Overview of the District’s Accomplishments and Opportunities for Growth (pdf)
- Read about afterschool nutrition programs at the D.C. Office of the State Superintendent of Education Web site.
- Read Successes, Key Strategies and Recommendations - The D.C. Public School Experience in Rolling Out the Afterschool Meal Program at 100 Schools (pdf), which highlights participation rates, winning strategies, and recommendations of D.C.'s Afterschool Meals Program.
- Contact us if your organization would be interested in serving afterschool snacks or suppers, particularly if you are a D.C Free Summer Meals site that also runs an afterschool program during the school year.