After School and Summer Meal Program


Stop the summer nutrition gap!

Did you know that 80% of California kids receiving free/reduced-price lunch during the school year are not participating in a subsidized summer  meal program? That means an estimated 2 million low-income kids may be missing out on the stability of a free, daily nutritious lunch during the summer months. The California Summer Meal Coalition is a statewide network dedicated to fighting childhood hunger and obesity by increasing access to the USDA’s summer food programs. Please join the Coalition for its free webinar series to learn how you can play a part in stopping the summer nutrition gap and keep California’s kids healthy and ready to learn, all year long.


Summer Meal Programs, Locations, Resources, and More!

Summer time is upon us! Be sure to stay on top of eating healthy and staying active! Whether you are a program providing summer meals, kids and teens in an after school program, or a family looking for fresh local produce sources, here are some resources within your reach:  


New LCAP Resources for School Nutrition Advocates

The California Food Policy Advocates, in collaboration with the California Endowment, school food service directors, and with expertise from members of the California Local School Wellness Collaborate, recently released new LCAP resources. These resources include nutrition and academic success stories with the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). Additional resources are also available to help support districts in meeting their student’s nutritional needs. Access the resources, here


Traveling Apple Policy and New Guidance from USDA

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service released new guidance to extend the flexibility to allow participants in the at-risk afterschool component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) to take certain food items off site, this policy is often referred to as the ”Traveling Apple Policy.”


School’s Out…Who Ate?

In 2015, more than 1.7 million of California’s most vulnerable kids fell into the summer nutrition gap. “School’s Out…Who Ate?” is an annual report published by California Food Policy Advocates to examine the reach of federal summer meal programs across the state. The report describes a summer nutrition gap that spans over 1.7 million kids across the state. That means 85 percent of children who rely on the health and academic benefits of free or reduced-price lunches during the school year miss out on similar meals during the summer. On the upside, while California’s summer meal gap is substantial and persistent, when it comes to federally funded free or reduced-price (FRP) summer lunches served, progress continues to be made. From July 2014 to July 2015, more than 130,000 additional FRP lunches were served across all summer nutritional programs for an overall increase of 2 percent. Read more here


Bipartisan Summer Meals Act Introduced in Senate to Help Close Hunger Gap

With the recent introduction of the Summer Meals Act of 2015, more families and children will have increased access to Summer Meal Programs. Specifically, this bill proposes an eligibility test that allows organizations to participate in summer meal programs if 40% of the children in their area qualify as under served. This would streamline child nutrition programs by allowing local government agencies and non-profits to provide food to children throughout the year, eliminating administrative issues.


New Proposed Healthier CACFP Meal Standards

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has recently proposed a new meal pattern for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). There is currently an opportunity for public comment concluding April 15, 2015.

The proposed rule, “Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010,” will affect CACFP programs in Head Start, child care centers, family child care homes, after school programs, and school meal programs in school-based PreK and expanded learning time programs. .

For more information, access the FRAC/USDA webinar here
or access the March 10th Nutrition and Physical Activity webinar here


Food Safety Nuts and Bolts
CACFP After School Meal Program Nuts and Bolts webinar

Food Safety Nuts and Bolts

This brief ten minute presentation which outlines:

  • Why food safety is important
  • Specific health and safety standards, requirements, and certifications
  • The basics of food safety
  • Promising food safety strategies currently in action in expanded learning programs
  • Access the food safety nuts and bolts webinar

This webinar was created by the California AfterSchool Network Nutrition and Physical Activity Committee and is one in a series of “Nuts and Bolts” webinars on the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) After School Meal Program.  Each brief (10 minute) webinar focuses on specific issues facing expanded learning programs implementing the CACFP After School Meal Program.  

Thank you to our speakers Bruno Marchesi (Healthy Behaviors Initiative), Rodney Taylor (Nutrition Services Department, Riverside Unified School District), and Doreen Hassan (YMCA of Silicon Valley).  


AB 626: Snacks & Meal Standards for After School Programs

As of January 1, 2014, after school programs have the option to serve a snack, a meal, or both. All snacks provided to students in the CDE’s After School Education and Safety (ASES) programs or the federally funded 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) programs must meet, at a minimum, the California nutrition standards identified below. If snacks are provided through one of the federally reimbursable meal programs, the food must meet both the federal requirements and the California nutrition standards.


After School Meal Program (Child and Adult Care Food Program)
After School Meals: Menus and Meal Patterns

After School Meal Program (Child and Adult Care Food Program)

This brief (10-minute) presentation of the California AfterSchool Network Nutrition and Physical Activity features Arnell Hinkle (Canfit) Deborah Tamannaie (CDE Nutrition Services Division) and Michelle Drake (Elk Grove Unified School District).  The presentation outlines the requirements and benefits of the After School Meal Program, how to get started with the After School Meal Program, and promising practices including sample hot and cold menu ideas and schedules.


Apply to Become Summer Food Service Program Sponsors

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson is encouraging schools, camps, Indian tribal governments, private nonprofit agencies, and municipal, state, county, and local government offices to apply to become summer food service program sponsors.  Sponsors will obtain food from another SFSP sponsor, public or commercial food vendor, or school food service department and provide activities to promote the food program, inviting families to bring their children to the site to be fed nutritious food without any income verification required.


How to Apply to Serve Meals
After School Meal Program Nuts and Bolts

How to Apply to Serve Meals

This 10-minute video is the first of a series of future videos on the nuts and bolts of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, After School Meal or Supper program.

The video is hosted by Kathy B. Lewis, Co-chair of the Nutrition and Physical Activity committee of the California AfterSchool Network, and Laurie Pennings, Manager of the CACFP Unit at the Nutrition Services Division of the California Department of Education.

The video presentation focuses on how to apply for the CACFP After Meal Program and the different application options and resources available.

For more information on the After School Meal program and additional resources, please go to


Moving from Afterschool Snack to a Meal– It’s easier than you think!

Afterschool programs serve a snack in order to keep children focused and engaged throughout the afternoon. Yet, for many children a snack is not enough. Children eat lunch hours before the afterschool program, sometimes as early as 10:30 in the morning, and need more than a small snack to make it through the afternoon. In addition, many families are struggling financially, and programs that provide a nutritious meal after school make it easier for parents to make ends meet and keep children from being hungry. 


Talking to your school district’s Nutrition Services Department

The Child and Adult Care Food Program provides federal funds to serve meals to children and youth during after school hours throughout the school year. Also referred to as the “After School Supper Program,”

• The meal can be served at any time during the after school program
• Meals can be served on Saturdays and school holidays within the regular school year
• Programs can: 1) upgrade snacks to a more substantial meal, or 2) serve a meal in addition to a snack
• Meals cannot be provided in the summer, except in schools operating on a year-round schedule