For many children in D.C., school lunch is the last meal before school breakfast the next morning. While a few schools and afterschool programs offer afterschool suppers through the federal Afterschool Meals Programs, just 22 percent of students eating lunch are also receiving an afterschool meal. The Healthy Parks Amendment Act of 2018, which passed in November 2018, requires the D.C. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) to offer all youth attending DPR-sponsored afterschool enrichment programs a supper through the Afterschool Meals Programs.
The Act also requires DPR to expand participation in their D.C. Free Summer Meals program through the federal Summer Food Service Program. Summer is the season where children face the most hunger. In D.C., just 35 percent of students eating school lunch are also receiving a summer meal.
This Act will greatly increase the reach of the Afterschool Meals Programs and D.C. Free Summer Meals, as DPR operates a large proportion of summer and afterschool programming in the District. With the implementation of the Healthy Parks Amendments Act, D.C. is one step closer to ending afterschool and summer hunger.