At-Risk Afterschool Meals

According to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, all states can now serve at-risk afterschool meals through the USDA’s Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). This program is administered by the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).

Who can provide At-Risk Afterschool Meals?

Schools, public agencies, private non-profit organizations, and some for-profit child care centers located in low-income areas may receive meal reimbursement if they meet all of the following eligibility criteria.

The program:

  • Is located in an area that is served by an elementary, middle, or high school where at least 50 percent of the enrolled children are eligible for free or reduced price meals.
  • Provides educational or enrichment activities in an organized, structured, and supervised environment.
    • Note: Athletic teams and scholastic clubs that limit membership based on ability or other requirements are not eligible.
  • Is either licensed or able to provide a fire/building inspection certificate and a sanitation certificate.


Can other demographic data be used to establish area eligibility for At-Risk Afterschool Meals?

No. School based data is the ONLY acceptable method for establishing area eligibility. Census tract data and participant income information may NOT be used.


How does serving At-Risk Afterschool Meals impact a program’s finances?

A program that serves snacks to 25 kids every weekday after school (180 days) would receive around $3420 in reimbursement. This same program would receive $12,465 in reimbursement if it served meals instead of snacks. It would receive $15,885 if it served both meals and snacks.        


How does it work?

All meals and snacks are provided free of charge to program participants. Programs may be reimbursed for one meal and one snack per child each day. Reimbursement rates are adjusted every July.

Reimbursement rates for 2012-13 school year:

  • Breakfast $1.55
  • Lunch/Supper $2.86
  • Snacks $0.78

Programs that serve meals can also receive either USDA Foods or an additional $.2225 per meal in lieu of USDA Foods.


When can meals and snacks be served?

Meals and snacks must be served after the end of the school day as well as on weekends, holidays, and school vacations during the regular school year.

  • While there is no formal guidance regarding when snacks and meals should be served during the afterschool program, agencies should get approval from DESE to ensure that snacks and meals are served at reasonable intervals.
  • Schools that extend their school day by an hour or more are also eligible for at-risk afterschool meal and snack reimbursements. To determine whether your program can receive reimbursement, please contact DESE.
  • At-Risk afterschool programs cannot claim meals during summer vacation. Agencies that are interested in serving meals during the summer months should contact DESE to determine whether they are eligible to serve meals through the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program.


What are the age requirements for meal participation?

  • Reimbursable meals can only be served to children who are 18 years or younger at the start of the school year. If a child turns 19 during the school year, the program can still claim reimbursement for meals served to that child until the end of the school year. There are no minimum age limits for meal reimbursement.
  • There are no age limits on reimbursement for meals served to persons with disabilities.


What are the nutritional requirements for At-Risk Afterschool Meals?

Meals Must Include the Following:
Snacks Must Include Two of the Following:
  • 1 serving of fluid milk
  • 2 servings of fruits and/or vegetables
  • 1 serving of grains/breads
  • 1 serving of protein (meat/meat alternate)
  • Fluid milk
  • Fruits and/or vegetables
  • Grains/Breads
  • Meat/Meat Alternate


What documentation is required when serving At-Risk Afterschool Meals?

  • Daily attendance roster
  • Number of snacks/meals prepared/delivered to program
  • Number of snacks/meals served to participating children
  • Menus for each snack and meal


How do I apply?

If you are new to the Child and Adult Care Food Program, you will need to request an application and submit a letter of intent on organizational letterhead with an original signature to:


Kathleen C. Millett, Executive Director
MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

Office for Nutrition, Health, and Safety Programs
75 Pleasant Street
Malden, MA 02148


If you currently operate an At-Risk Afterschool Program through CACFP and would like to introduce meals, you can amend your online application at any time during the fiscal year. Ultimately, DESE will need to approve this change.