Check out Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation, its first-ever report on participation data in the Afterschool Nutrition Programs

Read the report

The Afterschool Nutrition Programs provide federal funding to serve nutritious meals and snacks to children and teens at schools, community and recreation centers, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCA’s and other sites that offer educational and enrichment activities after school, on weekends, and during school holidays.

Afterschool meals and snacks are available through the Child and Adult Care Food Program and the National School Lunch Program. These programs are administered at the federal level by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and in each state typically through the department of education, health, or agriculture. To find out the agency that administers the program in your state, check USDA’s list of state administering agencies.

Quick Facts

  • Funding for afterschool meals became available nationwide through the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, so there is much work to do to increase the number of children who participate.
  • School-aged children have higher daily intake of fruits, vegetables, milk, and key nutrients like calcium, vitamin A, and folate on days they eat afterschool meals compared to days they do not.
  • Offering afterschool meals can help draw children into educational and enrichment activities and programming after school.

Stay Informed

Register for FRAC’s Afterschool Meals Matter conference calls and webinars.
Subscribe to the Meals Matter: Afterschool & Summer Newsletter.

  • Benefits of the Afterschool Nutrition Programs
    The Afterschool Nutrition Programs provide federal funding to serve nutritious meals and snacks to children at sites that offer educational and enrichment programming. These programs help support children’s health and academic achievement by providing nutritious meals and snacks that combat hunger and improve nutrition, and that draw children into afterschool educational and enrichment activities.
  • How the Afterschool Nutrition Programs Work
    The Afterschool Nutrition Programs operate through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which allows schools, local government agencies, and private nonprofits to serve a meal and a snack to children after school, on weekends, and during school holidays. They also operate through the National School Lunch Program, which allows schools to provide a snack after school. Meals and snacks can be served to children up to age 18 (and 19 if their birthday is during the school year) at sites offering educational and enrichment activities, such as schools, recreation centers, YMCAs, and Boys and Girls Clubs. Extended-day schools that run for an additional hour or more also may be eligible. Sites generally qualify if they are located in a low-income area. Find out about reimbursement rates for meals and snacks.
  • Serving High Quality Afterschool Meals and Snacks
    All meals served through the Afterschool Meal Program must meet USDA nutritional guidelines, which were recently updated. The new nutrition standards go into effect in October 2017.  Now is the time to move toward those new standards. Learn more about additional steps that can help build high quality afterschool nutrition programs and incorporating local foods into afterschool meal and snack programs.
  • Strategies to Expand the Afterschool Nutrition Programs
    Building a stronger sustainable program, improved policies, and expanded partnerships with national, state, and local stakeholders are key strategies to increasing participation in the Afterschool Meal Program. Find out how to develop a more sustainable Afterschool Meal Program.
  • Serving Afterschool Meals and Snacks in Rural Communities
    The Afterschool Nutrition Programs fill the hunger gap that exists after school for millions of low-income children in rural communities. These programs provide federal funding to afterschool programs operating in low-income areas to serve meals and snacks to children 18 and under after school, on weekends, and during school holidays. Learn more in our fact sheet: Rural Hunger in America: Afterschool Meals.

Equal Heart, Texas and Colorado

Equal Heart, an anti-hunger nonprofit based in Dallas, Texas, provides afterschool suppers at sites across Colorado and Texas. In an effort to expand participation and ensure year-round access, Equal Heart worked closely with more than 15 libraries that were serving summer meals to support their transition to serving afterschool suppers as well. By tapping into strong, existing programming, and training staff about the meal programs, Equal Heart was able to provide summer and afterschool meals seamlessly at the libraries, while strengthening the relationship with library staff and other community partners that assisted with outreach. To help reduce food waste and run more efficiently, Equal Heart’s program managers use an electronic meal tracking system to share meal preferences and feedback with the vendor on a daily basis. By communicating with vendors daily, Equal Heart is able to continually improve the quality and appeal of the meals served at afterschool sites.
Success Story
From Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation