Afterschool Meals Help Fill the Gap
Afterschool Meals Help Fill the Gap
Kaitlyn Klippert, Hunger Outreach Program Specialist
Treasure Standeford, Hunger Outreach Program Senior Specialist
September 22, 2022
As summer is officially over and schools across Oklahoma are back in swing, families are looking to the future as autumn is rapidly approaching.
While many of us look forward to the coming months of sweaters, pumpkin spice, and cooler weather, the reality is that for one in five children in Oklahoma, once the school day ends, an evening meal may not be consistent. In an effort for families in Oklahoma to be better supported by their communities, we want more than that.
By implementing an Afterschool Meals program at your school or organization, you can be part of this change. Learn how here.
There are two exciting opportunities to get involved in Afterschool Meals:
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Application via Oklahoma State Department of Education
Applications for school districts and sponsoring organizations should be live at the end of September. To begin your application, click here and then click “Apply to participate in the Child Nutrition Programs On-Line!”. Sites do not need to apply. Instead, be sure to submit all your information to your sponsor. If you are looking to become a site and would like to get connected to a sponsor, please get in touch with HFO to learn more here.
After you begin your application process online, you’ll then be contacted by someone from OSDE, and they’ll help you through the rest of the documentation, training, and viability, capability, and accountability (VCA) checklist requirements.
This is also a rolling application, meaning it is open all school year. It will not be open during the summer, however, as Summer Meals are taking place at that time.
You can also participate in an optional training for Afterschool Meals offered here by the Oklahoma Department of Education:
“The At-Risk Afterschool Meals component of CACFP, requires healthy meals and snacks be served to children and teenagers who participate in afterschool programs in low-income areas. The Child and Adult Care Food Program is a federally funded, State-administered program that provides funding to those organizations. This training is going to provide the learner with an insight into the requirements needed to apply for the program and the necessary documentation to be federally reimbursed.” -OSDE
Hunger Free Oklahoma’s Afterschool Meals Stakeholder Survey
In preparation for a comprehensive Afterschool Meals Report that HFO is set to release later in 2023, we need your help completing the official Afterschool Meals Survey! This survey is going to be used to directly inform the writing and content of our report. HFO will be using survey responses to highlight success stories and share local strategies that increase participation in this important program.
We want your opinion! If you are or are thinking about becoming a site or a sponsor, we have some questions for you. We want to know if you have been involved with this program, how it’s been going in past years, what your favorite parts have been, or what you’d do differently. If you haven’t been involved but are interested, we want to know why you’re interested, or why you’re hesitating!
This survey is so important to us that if you fill out the entirety of the survey, you’ll be entered into a drawing to win $1,000 to go toward your school or organization’s food security efforts. The target audience for this survey is schools, school districts, and organizations that currently participate in afterschool meal programs or are interested in participating. Please share your input here. This survey will close on Friday, November 18.
In addition to Afterschool Meals, there are various ways to empower families through hunger-fighting resources. If you, a friend, or family member is in need of grocery assistance, please see the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) webpage where you can learn more about SNAP, or call Hunger Free Oklahoma’s SNAP Hotline Monday through Friday 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm. English and Spanish assistance is available, as well as Burmese and Zomi at select times.
You can also check out Double Up Oklahoma (DUO) to learn more about how to access fresh fruits and vegetables at participating grocery stores and farmers markets if you are already receiving SNAP benefits. You can also read more about DUO in our blog here.
For more information and resources on even more hunger-fighting programs, click here.