December 17, 2020
During the holidays and all year long, millions of individuals and families who struggle against hunger are able to access healthy food with support from the federal nutrition programs. This year, the federal nutrition programs have played a critical role in ensuring people can continue to put food on the table during the twin COVID-19 public health and economic crises.
To celebrate the nation’s nutrition safety net, FRAC is releasing a seven-part “Remember This December” series that will highlight the impact of seven important federal nutrition programs.
This is the third installment of the series, which focuses on the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). Read the previous installment on school lunch.
Since being introduced in the late 1960s, CACFP has provided millions of children with meals and snacks in various settings, including child care centers, home day cares, Head Start Programs, afterschool programs, and homeless and domestic violence shelters. Older adults and adults with disabilities also have received nutrition through the program.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a series of child nutrition program waivers designed to allow CACFP providers and programs to maintain access to nutritious meals for children.
Read more on the impact of CACFP:
- CACFP matters for millions of children: In fiscal year 2019, the program provided daily more than 2 billion meals and snacks to 4.8 million children in child care centers, family care homes, and afterschool programs. The majority of CACFP participants are preschool-aged children.
- CACFP also matters for adults: In 2018, the program offered nutritious meals and snacks to 130,000 elderly or disabled adults each day.
- CACFP supports the health of children: Through providing nutritious meals and snacks along with ongoing training, technical assistance, and support, CACFP ensures that children receive a healthy diet, grow healthy and strong, and develop good nutrition habits early in life.
- CACFP spurs economic activity: The program’s funding supports local economies by purchasing required healthy foods at grocery stores and farmers’ markets, supporting jobs in the care sector, and helping working families work.
- CACFP supports child care: In addition to providing access to healthy meals and snacks to eligible children at participating sites, CACFP plays a critical role in improving the quality of child care programs and making them more affordable for low-income families.
Watch our video on the importance of the federal nutrition programs.