While more low-income students are eating afterschool snacks and suppers to fuel their learning in afterschool enrichment programs, there is still considerable potential for growth, according to the Food Research and Action Center’s (FRAC) report, “Afterschool Suppers: A Snapshot of Participation,” which analyzes participation data nationally and by state. In October 2017, NYS programs participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) or the afterschool snack component of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provided afterschool nutrition to more than 18% of NYS’ 1.4 million students who ate free or reduced-price lunch at school. However, only 6.5% of low-income students had access to a complete five-component afterschool meal, with the majority receiving two-component snacks instead. If NYS had met FRAC’s modest benchmark of reaching 15 out of every 100 low-income children who rely on school lunch with an afterschool meal, New York would have better nourished an additional 120,419 kids and teens that month alone. In addition, local school districts and other program sponsors would have potentially drawn down an additional $7.3 million in federal reimbursement.

The report showed an 8.3% increase in CACFP afterschool meals participation in NYS; average daily participation for afterschool suppers increased from 84,604 in October 2016 to 91,620 in October 2017. The number of program sites also increased, from 1,779 in October 2016 to 1,813 in October 2017.

New York State is one of only 17 states that invest state funds to support afterschool programs specifically. Federally funded afterschool nutrition programs enhance the quality of afterschool enrichment programs, support working families, and significantly reduce childhood hunger in low-income school communities.

Many more schools and programs throughout NYS can serve CACFP afterschool meals, including those currently serving snacks through the NSLP or CACFP. Complete meals provide a more substantial nutritional boost, supporting kids’ wellbeing and fueling learning beyond the school day. View our webinar to learn more and hear from two current afterschool meals sponsors, including a school food service director who switched from serving snacks through the NSLP to serving complete meals through CACFP.

For additional information and resources, visit AfterschoolMealsNY.org.