The Afterschool Meal Program
What is the Afterschool Meal Program?
The Afterschool Meal Program provides federal funding for meals served to children aged 18 and under in afterschool programs located in low-income areas. The Afterschool Meal Program is available through the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and is administered through the Maryland State Department of Education..
Just like for afterschool snack reimbursement, afterschool programs must include educational or enrichment programming and be located in communities where 50 percent or more of the children qualify for free or reduced price meals to be eligible for Afterschool Meal Program reimbursement. To find out if your program is eligible, contact the Maryland State Department of Education, School and Community Nutrition Programs. Maryland Hunger Solutions is here to help with program application, implementation, and outreach efforts.
What Are the Nutritional Guidelines of an Afterschool Meal?
All meals served must comply with USDA nutrition guidelines and include:
- 1 serving of fluid milk
- 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables
- 1 serving of grains
- 1 serving of protein
An afterschool meal can be served hot or cold, and can be as simple as a turkey sandwich, baby carrots, an apple, and low-fat milk. For afterschool meal ideas, download FRAC’s model supper menus.
What is the Reimbursement Rate for Afterschool Meals?
All meals served through the At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program are reimbursed at the “free” rate of $2.86, plus an additional $0.2275 in commodities or cash-in-lieu of commodities. The reimbursement rate for meals served through CACFP is adjusted annually.
When Can Afterschool Meals Be Served?
Afterschool meals can be served to children in programs operating after school, on weekends, and during school holidays. The meals can be served at anytime during the program.
Should Programs That Currently Utilize the Snack Program Serve Meals?
Yes! The Afterschool Meal Program is an excellent opportunity to provide additional nutrition to children in afterschool programs. These meals provide children with the nutrition they need to stay focused and energetic throughout the program. Depending on the length of your program, you may be able to provide both a snack and a meal. Serving meals is easier than you think! For more information, download the fact sheet Moving from Afterschool Snack to a Meal: It is easier than you think! (pdf).
Maryland Hunger Solutions Can Help By:
- assisting your organization in applying for the Afterschool Meal Program;
- providing assistance on how to operate the program
- helping develop menus and improve the food quality at your sites.
Help Us Spread the Word About This Exciting New Program!
- Ask your school food director if they are offering the Afterschool Meal Program in your child’s school.
- Find out if the local YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, and other non-profit afterschool programs know that the Afterschool Meal Program is now available in Maryland.
- Ask your faith community if they are interested in serving meals in their youth programs.