Afterschool Meals

The USDA At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program offers nutritious meals and snacks at schools and community locations for children and youth 18 and under. The federal government provides reimbursements for snacks and meals served at afterschool programs that offer enrichment under USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP).

For many kids, this is their only chance to get a healthy meal after the school day ends.

Unfortunately, only 7% of kids in Maryland who eat school lunch are also eating an afterschool snack.

  • “After the final bell some kids have gone over 3 hours without eating and are expected to be able to remain focused on furthering their academic pursuits or dive straight into athletics. If you stop and think about it that’s asking a lot from a child.”  Principal McElhaney, Annapolis Middle School, Anne Arundel County
  • “The afterschool meals program is something that kids can count on afterschool every day when food may not be available at home.  The children love the snacks and always want more!”  Mrs. Myers, Director, Learn and Play Center of Baltimore County

For more information contact Kara Panowitz, Senior Manager at 410.205.1013 or kpanowitz@strength.org.

How does the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program work?

  • The program is available in locations where at least 50% of children are eligible for free and reduced-price meals.
  • An enrichment activity must be offered to students in order to qualify for meal reimbursement. Some examples of activities include a drama club, coach class, drop-in open library, computer lab open hours, chess club, sports, or other physical activities.
  • Any student can get a meal whether they participate in the activity or not.
  • Set-up, meal distribution, and clean up are quick and easy.
  • Meals are ready to eat and basic supplies such as plates, napkins, and utensils are included.
  • Sites need at least 1 supervisor, age 18 or older, to distribute meals and count the number of meals served. Supervisors can be school staff, parents, or volunteers and they must complete training on safe food handling practices.
  • Sites can use student helpers to assist in serving meals and can offer service hours needed to graduate.
  • Students can receive and eat meals anywhere on site property. For example, if meals are served in the cafeteria at a school, the student can consume the meal anywhere on school property.

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USDA Afterschool Meals website

A new report from the No Kid Hungry’s Center for Best Practices examines the history and trends of this crucial program.