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Child and Adult Care Food Program Reaches Far and Wide

Posted by Asha Brundage-Moore, Community Meal Programs, USDA Food and Nutrition Service in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
USDA programs like CACFP help improve access to food and healthful diets for millions of Americans.
USDA programs like CACFP help improve access to food and healthful diets for millions of Americans.

During National Nutrition Month, we’re excited to highlight the many ways federal nutrition assistance programs benefit vulnerable Americans.

At USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service, we often get the chance to discuss how WIC and our school lunch and breakfast programs boost the nutritional lives of millions.  But did you know that each day our Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides over 3.3 million children and 120,000 adults nutritious meals and snacks that contribute to their wellness, healthy growth and development?

This March we’re taking the opportunity to celebrate CACFP’s diversity and highlight the ways participants benefit from the program.  CACFP plays an integral role in the federal safety net, designed to improve access to food and healthful diets for millions.

From pre-kindergarten through 12th grade, nearly 31 million children receive nutritionally balanced lunches at school.  But what about younger children who are not yet in school and attend child care centers or day care homes?  Or what are the meal options for school-aged children after school lets out? This is where CACFP is there to help.  CACFP provides nutritious meals and snacks to infants and children in child care centers and homes as a regular part of their day care.

But that’s not all the program does to support our nation’s young people.  When school is out and parents are still at work, afterschool programs can provide children and teenagers the nutrition they need through CACFP.  This draws kids into constructive activities that are safe, fun, and filled with learning opportunities. CACFP also serves as an important resource for emergency shelters, by providing residential and food service to homeless children.

CACFP not only benefits infants, children and teenagers, it also provides meals for adults in day care. Adult day care centers receive reimbursements for serving nutritious meals to those 60 or older, or who are physically or mentally impaired, with limited independence and ability to carry out daily living activities.

Through CACFP, providers receive reimbursements to help lower costs, enabling a wide range of children and adults the chance to enjoy healthy, balanced meals and snacks throughout the day. To learn more about CACFP, visit

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Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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