The Afterschool Nutrition Programs, in normal times, provide funding to serve suppers and snacks to children alongside educational programming. Afterschool suppers are an exciting and underutilized opportunity to reduce childhood hunger, draw children into quality afterschool programming, and support working families.
FRAC’s latest report analyzes participation in the Afterschool Nutrition Programs in October 2019 compared to participation in October 2018.
- Over 1.4 million children participated on an average day in Afterschool Nutrition Programs.
- Participation in afterschool suppers increased by over 86,900 participants in October 2019.
- In October 2019, only 6.5 children received an afterschool supper for every 100 low-income children who participated in the National School Lunch Program in the same month.
- If every state had served supper to 15 children for every 100 low-income children who participated in school lunch in October 2019, then 1,808,744 additional children would have received a nutritious meal after school, and an additional $119.5 million in federal funding would have supported the provision of afterschool suppers in October 2019 alone.
- National Findings
- Participation in afterschool suppers increased by 5.5 percent in October 2019, compared to the previous year. At the same time, afterschool snack participation decreased overall. The combined decrease in snack participation was likely driven by some programs taking the positive step of providing suppers instead of snacks.
- State Findings
- See how your state compares!
- Participation in afterschool suppers varied significantly by state. Some states made great strides to expand the reach of the Afterschool Supper Program, but all states have room to grow in the 2020–2021 school year and beyond.
- In October 2019, the District of Columbia reached FRAC’s goal for states to serve supper to at least 15 children for every 100 who participated in the school-day free or reduced-price school lunch program. California and Vermont came close to reaching that same goal.
- 36 states moved in the right direction and increased their participation rate in afterschool suppers; 22 of these states increased by more than 10 percent.
- COVID-19 and Child Nutrition Programs
- Out-of-school time programming was hit hard by COVID-related closures, and it will take additional support and funding to ensure that these critical services are able to rebound. The need for additional investments is compounded by the fact that funding for afterschool programming was already failing to fill the gap before the pandemic.
- To overcome some of the barriers to operating the child nutrition programs during a pandemic, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act expanded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) waiver authority to allow it to issue nationwide waivers, as well as waivers that increase the cost of operating the child nutrition programs. With this authority, USDA implemented a number of nationwide afterschool and summer waivers that have supported access to meals as sites have had to socially distance and respond to the dramatic increase in need. A list of waivers can be accessed in the report.
- Policy Opportunities
- Streamline the Afterschool Meal Program and Summer Food Service Program
- Allow School Food Authorities to Serve Suppers Through the National School Lunch Program
- Lower the Area Eligibility Threshold From 50 to 40 Percent