D.C. Comes in at No. 1 in Afterschool Meal Participation, New Report Finds
WASHINGTON, October 10, 2018 — More than 10,000 children in the District of Columbia benefitted from afterschool suppers on an average weekday in October 2017, a 31.6 percent increase in participation over the previous year, according to “Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation,” a new report from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC, a national anti-hunger advocacy group). The report measures how many children participated in the Afterschool Supper Program and Afterschool Snack Program, nationally and by state.
D.C. had the highest participation in the nation of children in the Afterschool Supper Program, exceeding FRAC’s goal for states to serve afterschool supper to at least 15 children for every 100 who participated in free and reduced-price lunch school lunch. D.C. served 21.7 children afterschool suppers for every 100 that received school lunch in October 2017.
“Afterschool suppers provide children with a healthy late afternoon or early evening meal, and for many children, this might be the last time they eat until school breakfast the next morning,” said Beverley Wheeler, director, D.C. Hunger Solutions. “We are thrilled to be providing so many children with the nutrition they need through afterschool suppers.”
Because afterschool suppers are a relatively new option — they first became available nationwide through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 — every state has room to grow participation in the 2018–2019 school year and beyond.
Despite the District’s high participation rate, the demand for quality afterschool programming far exceeds the supply, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. More public and private funding is needed to increase the number of high-quality, affordable afterschool programs that provide safe environments where children in D.C. can eat, learn, and play while their parents are at work.
“The nutrition and enrichment activities provided through afterschool programs are an ideal combination for supporting children’s health and learning,” said Wheeler. “We are working with our partners to increase the number of programs that offer afterschool activities and suppers, and to make sure they are accessible for low-income families.”
Read the report.
D.C. Hunger Solutions, an initiative of the Food Research & Action Center, works to end hunger in the nation’s capital and improve the nutrition, health, economic security, and well-being of low-income District residents.
The Food Research & Action Center is the leading national nonprofit organization working to eradicate poverty-related hunger and undernutrition in the United States.