Do you know about Afterschool Meals? Survey says, maybe not. A recent survey conducted by the Afterschool Alliance of 500 providers of afterschool programs found that 54% had not heard of the federally-funded, reimbursable “At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program”. Yet, 80% provided snacks and 30% provided meals at their own expense. To help raise awareness of the program’s availability and success, the Afterschool Alliance hosted the webinar “Feeding America’s Children Afterschool” on December 5. The organization will continue to offer these, so register now to receive the notifications.
This webinar included our own Jeff Rowe, as well as others with experience in the Afterschool Meals arena. Here are some of the highlights from the webinar, with notes and recordings available on the Afterschool Alliance website:
Feeding America’s Children Afterschool
*Erik Peterson, Afterschool Alliance
*Signe Anderson, Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)
*Lynn Sobolov, Excel Beyond the Bell, Montgomery County Collaboration Council (Maryland)
*Veneice Smith-McCain, Boston Public Schools
*Jeff Rowe, E S Foods
First, some basics covered by Erik Peterson about Afterschool Meals. The Programs MUST:
-Offer educational and enrichment activities
-Be located in an area where at least half of the students in the local elementary, middle or high school are eligible for free or reduced price school meals
-Meet state and local health and safety standards or be licensed for child care if required by state or local law.
-School, local government agencies, private non-profits can host
-Afterschool, on weekends, and during school holidays
-Funding is $3.08 for a meal versus $0.78 for a snack
-Available through the Child and Adult Care Food Program
Signe Anderson of FRAC noted that since this program is still relatively new, FRAC is helping spread the word and provide resources such as materials on its website (FRAC.org). FRAC also offers monthly conferences calls called “Meals Matter” where various topics related to Afterschool Meals will be discussed
E S Foods’ Jeff Rowe discussed our involvement in supporting Afterschool Meal Programs. For example, we sponsor outreach by the Afterschool Alliance, such as this webinar, and have worked to place messaging in School Nutrition magazine, and conduct a national survey to identify potential sponsors. We have many product solutions to make serving a meal as simple as serving a snack. Jeff also pointed out that for every 100 children participating in Afterschool Meals, sponsors generate over $50,000 in program funding and support.
Two successful programs offering Afterschool Meals were discussed by Lynn Sobolov of Montgomery County in Maryland, and by Veneice Smith-McCain of Boston Public Schools. In Maryland’s “Excel Beyond the Bell” program, for example, they went from serving 730 suppers to 2010 to 33,000 in their first year. See the full webinar for more on these success stories.