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At-Risk Afterschool Meals Component

Apple on book iconWhat is the At-Risk Meals Component of the CACFP?

The At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program offers Federal funding for organizations that serve meals and snacks to participants in low-income areas in afterschool programs. Programs that participate in the CACFP give children and teenagers the nutrition they need, and provide constructive activities that are safe, fun, and filled with opportunities for learning.

How to Participate in the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Component of CACFP

Getting Started With Afterschool Meals Video - produced by No Kid Hungry

Outside of School Hours vs. At-Risk Afterschool Program Comparison Chart

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) vs. At-Risk Afterschool Program Comparison Chart

Afterschool Meal Options for School Food Authorities

What Organizations Can Participate?

USDA regulations define an afterschool program as one that provides an approved nonresidential enrichment program in an eligible area to participants during afterschool hours. Emergency shelter sites may be eligible without regard to its location.

Organizations that operate the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) during the summer are encouraged to participate in the At-Risk Afterschool Meal Program during the school year. Participation in both programs can benefit the organization and community by providing year-round services to participants. Refer to the Summer Food Service Program versus At-Risk Afterschool Program Comparison Chart for the differences and similarities between the two programs.

Eligible organizations must be licensed by the Department of Children and Families (DCF) or meet state/local health and safety standards when exempt for childcare license by DCF. A copy of the following documents must be submitted for these sites:

These documents are not required for sites that operate within schools participating in the National School Lunch Program or School Breakfast Program and follow the schools’ standard operating procedures.

Organizations must be one of the following:

  • Private Non-Profit: must have Federal tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Public: must be part of an entity recognized as “public” by the State or Federal Government. This includes public schools, public universities and technical colleges, and Indian reservations.
Eligibility Requirements

Eligible organizations must operate afterschool or enrichment programs that:

  • Are located in the attendance area of a public school building with a School Eligibility of 50% or more, as published in the most current Wisconsin Public School Eligibility Data Report or based on the most recent Free/Reduced-priced or Community Eligibility data.
    • Once established, this eligibility remains in effect for five years.
  • Provide drop-in or enrolled programs during afterschool hours, on weekends, holidays, and school vacations (e.g. spring break) during the regular school year, in an organized, structured, and supervised environment.
    • Sites that provide afterschool programs year-round may be eligible to participate during the summer only when located in the attendance area of a school operating on a year-round schedule.
  • Provide educational or enrichment activities during the program, such as homework, tutoring, supervised athletic activities, drama, and chess.
  • Are open to all children/youth. There is no requirement that all children/youth receiving meals participate in the scheduled activities; the activities just need to be available to all.
Eligible Participants
  • School-age youth through age 18, including those who are 18 years old at the start of the school year
  • Individuals who meet the definition of "persons with disabilities" regardless of age
  • Members of school sports teams and clubs who do not participate directly in the program’s enrichment activities, but remain onsite while consuming the meal that is provided as part of the afterschool program’s scheduled activities
Meal Service

Meals and snacks must meet CACFP meal pattern requirements: CACFP Meal Pattern (Ages 1-18)

Meals may include:

  • Supper and/or PM snack served after the end of the regular school day
  • Any one meal (breakfast, lunch, or supper) and/or one snack served on weekends, holidays, and school vacations (e.g. spring break)

Programs receive reimbursement for claimed meals and snacks. All meals and snacks claimed in an At-Risk Afterschool Program are reimbursed at the free rate. For the most current Free rate of reimbursement, refer to Guidance Memorandum 2: CACFP Reimbursement Rates.

  • Sites cannot receive reimbursement for meals served to adults, including program and non-program adults.
  • Programs must spend all reimbursement received on allowable CACFP costs.

Prospective Waivers for Non-Congregate Meal Service due to Unanticipated School Closures for CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Programs Approved through June 30, 2024

On August 22, 2023, USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) approved DPI's statewide waiver request to allow CACFP At-Risk Afterschool Program operators to serve meals in a noncongregate setting when congregate meal service operations are limited due to natural disasters, unscheduled major building repairs, court orders relating to school safety or other issues, labor-management disputes, or, when approved by the State agency for a similar unanticipated cause.

If your agency is experiencing any of the above situations, please reach out to us at

Join the CACFP

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For information on joining the CACFP, check out the Join the CACFP page.

New Staff to the CACFP

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For information for new CACFP staff, check out New Staff Responsible for CACFP.

Important Links

Wisconsin Public School Eligibility Data Report for At-Risk Afterschool Programs – Fiscal Year 2023 (October 2022 Data)



For questions about this information, contact CNT (608) 267-9129