Reimbursing Afterschool Snacks: What are the options?

Most out-of-school time programs provide a snack or even a meal to kids who participate. The different routes a program can take to be reimbursed for food, however, can be confusing. In this post, we’ll take a look at the two main options in Montana. Both reimbursement programs are funded through the USDA (meaning snacks and meals must meet those nutrition standards by age group), but differences in the specifics can determine which option is a better fit for an out-of-school time program.

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1. Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)—Afterschool Meal Program: 
-This program is administered by Montana’s Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS). 
-An afterschool program must operate in a school district that has at least a 50% eligibility rate for free or reduced lunches in order to qualify for CACFP reimbursements. 
-This option can allow for afterschool programs to reimburse suppers as well. 
-Snacks and meals can be reimbursed when they are served afterschool on school days, and when the afterschool program operates on non-school days.  

2. Office of Public Instruction (OPI)—Afterschool Snack Program: 
-This program is part of the National School Lunch Program. 
-Schools and residential child care institutions that utilize the National School Lunch Program can apply for this option. 
-Reimbursement categories depend upon whether or not the afterschool program falls within attendance area boundaries for a school that has at least 50% of students qualifying for free or reduced lunch.  
-Snacks only qualify for reimbursement when they are served on school days. 

Want more details? Check out this list of resource links: 

-More information on CACFP
-More information on the OPI Afterschool Snack Program
-Comparison video for the two options
-Snack calculator for USDA nutrition guidelines