Afterschool Meals

Afterschool meals help to fight childhood hunger and make sure that all children have access to healthy options during out-of-school time.

Afterschool programs keep young people safe, help working families, and engage children in learning—but they also can nourish young people during the hours when school's out. Afterschool meals are an effective way to reduce childhood hunger and promote a healthy childhood weight.  In 2016, 15 million children (21 percent) under the age of 18 lived in poverty and were exposed to hunger.

Afterschool meals are served in 21st Century Community Learning Center funded programs as well as other afterschool program sites.

Be an Afterschool Meal Champion and help ensure that children in need have access to a nutritious meal during the afterschool hours.

         Did you know?

  • Making afterschool meals available helps combat the hunger and food insecurity that affects more than 15 million children in the United States.

  • There is a federal program that can help you serve afterschool meals for free by providing funding for eligible children. Signing up is easy!

  • Offering afterschool meals increases participation in afterschool programs.  The availability of nutritious food improves effectiveness of enrichment activities.

  • For every 500 eligible children participating, a program is reimbursed more than $250,000 in funding annually.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers three different nutrition assistance programs that can help afterschool and summer

 learning providers offer nutritious meals or snacks to participating children:

  1. The At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program through the Child and Adult Care Feeding Programs (CACFP) provides children and teenagers the nutrition they need, and can draw them into constructive activities that are safe, fun, and filled with opportunities for learning.

  2. The Afterschool Snack Program can be operated by school nutrition departments through the National School Lunch Program or CACFP.

  3. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a USDA-administered program designed to fill the nutrition gap left during the summer months and make sure children can get the nutritious meals they need. Our survey of afterschool and summer program providers shows that these programs are an important source of food for the kids they serve, and takes a look at the important role SFSP plays in bringing healthy snacks and meals to kids in need.


Afterschool and Summer Meals Resources

Nutrition Guidelines and Education
The Afterschool Alliance's work in the anti-hunger, wellness and nutrition areas is supported in part by the Food Research and Action Center through the ConAgra Foods Foundation.