WASHINGTON – Last week, Representatives Jahana Hayes (CT-05) and Shontel M. Brown (OH-11) introduced the Afterschool Meals Act to enable schools to provide meals to children in afterschool care seamlessly through the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).
Currently, eligible schools can serve snacks to students during afterschool programming through the NSLP After-School Snack Program. However, the program only allows for a two-component snack, and participation in the program is much lower than that of NSLP and the School Breakfast Program.
“Hungry children do not learn. Whether it is before, during, or after school, kids need nutritious meals to thrive,” said Congresswoman Hayes. “Better access to these nutritious meals means improved classroom engagement, at-home productivity, interest in activities and more. The Afterschool Meals Act will expand access to after school meals for many schools already participating in the National School Lunch Program and it compounds my efforts to improve child nutrition and end hunger. I am glad to support Rep. Shontel Brown in her effort to help children thrive.
“Increasing access to afterschool meals is a critical way to close the hunger gap many children face between lunch at school one day and breakfast the next,” said Congresswoman Brown. “The Afterschool Meals Act would allow schools to provide healthy meals during afterschool programs to students already served by the National School Lunch Program. I am proud to partner with Congresswoman Hayes to introduce this common-sense legislation to reduce hunger among vulnerable students and allow them to better engage in afterschool programs.”
Specifically, the Afterschool Meals Act:
Expands the afterschool feeding component of the National School Lunch Program to include meals that meet federal nutrition standards;
Provides reimbursements to School Food Authorities for each free or reduced meal they serve; and
Grants prioritization to existing Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) afterschool meal programs.
The bill is endorsed by the following organizations: the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International, the Food Research and Action Center, the National Education Association (NEA), the School Nutrition Association, and Share Our Strength.
Click here for the bill text.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes sits on the Committees on Education & Labor and Agriculture and proudly represents Connecticut’s 5th District. She was a public school teacher in Connecticut for more than 15 years and was recognized in 2016 as the National Teacher of the Year.