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Federal Food Program Participation & Benefits


Summary: Participation in federal food programs and benefits

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This database contains participation rates and benefits for federal food programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), School Breakfast, Special Milk Program, Child And Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Programs.  

  • The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal program that provides reimbursements for nutritious meals and snacks to eligible children and adults who are enrolled for care at participating child care centers, day care homes, and adult day care centers. CACFP also provides reimbursements for meals served to children and youth participating in afterschool care programs, children residing in emergency shelters, and adults over the age of 60 or living with a disability and enrolled in day care facilities. 
  • The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to children each school day. 

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The number of participants or households may contain fractions based on caseloads.  Data are reported by Fiscal Year, which runs from Oct. 1-Sep. 30.  For example, 2014 data reflect Oct. 1, 2013-Sept. 30, 2014.  Some data reflect revisions from that earlier reported.

 

  • Participation data for the National School Lunch program are nine-month averages; June-August are excluded. Participation is based on average daily meals divided by an attendance factor of 0.927. Department of Defense activity, where reported, represents children of armed forces personnel attending schools overseas.
  • National School Lunch program payments to State agencies are based on per meal rates adjusted annually to offset changes in food prices.  Administrative costs are not included.  Department of Defense activity, where reported, represents children of armed forces personnel attending schools overseas.  Cash Payments include the costs of snacks served under the National School Lunch Program as well as lunches. 
  • National School Lunch commodity costs include entitlement commodities, bonus commodities, and cash-in-lieu of commodities.  Entitlement commodities are based on a rate per meal which is adjusted annually to offset changes in food costs; bonus commodities are surplus Dept. of Agriculture foods.  Commodity costs represent value of foods delivered t State warehouses during the fiscal year.  Dept. of Defense schools serve children of armed force personnel stationed abroad.
  • School Breakfast Program participation data are nine-month averages; June-August are excluded.  Participation is based on average daily meals divided by an attendance factor of 0.927.  Department of Defense activity represents children of armed forces personnel attending schools overseas. 
  • School Breakfast Program payments to State agencies are based on per meal rates adjusted annually to offset changes in food prices.  Administrative costs are not included.  Department of Defense activity represents children of armed forces personnel attending schools overseas. 
  • 2014 data for Special Milk, Child and Adult Care Food participation, Child and Adult Care Food Total meals served, Total meals served, and Summer Food Service Meals Served and Cash Payments are preliminary.
  • Average daily attendance data for Child and Adult Care Food are reported on a quarterly basis only (March, June, September, and December).  Annual averages are divided by four.  Unlike participation data in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, average daily attendance is not adjusted for absenteeism.
  • Child and Adult Care Food payments to State agencies are based on per meal rates adjusted annually to offset changes in food prices.  Administrative costs are not included.      
  • Summer Food Program Average Daily Attendance is reported for July only, the peak month of national program activity.  Unlike participation data in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, average daily attendance is not adjusted for absenteeism.  Summer Food Cash Payments are based on per meal reimbursement rates adjusted annually to offset changes in food prices.  They do not include administrative expenses or commodity costs.

Geographic Coverage: U.S., States

Periodicity: Annually

Series Begins/Ends: 2008 - 2020

Data Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service

Updated:  Oct. 15, 2021 Estimated next update: Jun. 06, 2022

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