A Guide to Starting and Improving Your Afterschool Meals Program

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal entitlement program that provides funding to help offset the cost of providing healthy meals and snacks to infants, children, teens, and adults in a variety of care settings, including afterschool programs. Although free snacks have been available through the CACFP and National School Lunch Program (NSLP) for over twenty years, it was not until 2010 that educational or enrichment programs in low-income areas across the country became eligible to serve meals (usually suppers) free of charge through the CACFP. This is formally known as the CACFP’s At-Risk Afterschool Meals component but will be referred to as the Afterschool Meals Program throughout this guide. This resource guide will focus on how schools can take advantage of the opportunity to serve meals through the Afterschool Meals Program rather than just snacks through the CACFP or NSLP.

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