Did you know that funding is available to feed kids on school holidays and weekends?
Most program providers know that the Afterschool Meal and Snack Program, through the Child and Adult Care Food Program, will reimburse schools, local government agencies, and private nonprofit organizations for serving meals and snacks to kids in programs after school.
Few, however, know that they could receive the same funding to feed kids on school holidays and weekends.
The Afterschool Meal and Snack Program provide reimbursements for each meal and snack served that meets the federal nutrition guidelines. To qualify, the program must be in a low-income area where at least 50 percent of the students attending the local school are certified to receive free or reduced-price school meals; provide educational or enrichment programming; and meet health and safety standards or licensing requirements, depending on state and local requirements.
This funding also is available to programs that meet those eligibility requirements and that operate on Saturday, Sunday, federal holidays, professional development days, and winter or spring break.
In areas where schools have four-day school weeks, programs running the fifth day to fill the gap also can tap into this funding.
These programs can provide a breakfast, a lunch, or a supper, depending on what works best for the program. They also can provide a snack if the program operates long enough. For example, a Saturday morning enrichment program could serve breakfast and a snack and a program operating on Columbus Day could serve lunch and a snack.
Providing nutritious meals and snacks at programs operating on non-school days is just as important as providing food at programs after school. It may be even more important since the children are not receiving breakfast and lunch at school. Providing these meals can help struggling families make it through the weekend or the long winter break and can help draw children into your program.
With the new school year starting, now is the time to start planning to serve meals at all of your programs. Do not wait until November to figure out how to feed children at your winter break camp. If you do, you may be too late.
For more information, check out FRAC’s guide to providing meals on weekends and school holidays or join and talk to your state child nutrition agency that oversees the Child and Adult Care Food Program about providing meals at your programs that operate on weekends and school holidays.
For breakfast, I had: Cornflakes, blueberries, milk, and coffee.
Author: @crystalfitzsimons (all photos were happily provided by the author).