Federal Hunger Relief Programs

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

The Afterschool Meal Program provides federal funding for meals served to children aged 18 and under in afterschool programs located in low-income areas. New York State Department of Health annually receives funding from the federal government to support and further enhance New York’s Child and Adult Care Food Program’s (CACFP) statewide. The CACFP initiative is supported through an entitlement program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and continues New York’s commitment of promoting the health and well being of its residents.

The CACFP also serves:

  • CHILD CARE CENTERS, including head start centers, and outside school hour programs serving children up to 12 years of age;
  • HOME-BASED FAMILY and GROUP CHILD CARE, including legally exempt providers caring for subsidized children;
  • COMMUNITY-BASED ADULT DAY CARE CENTERS that are approved by federal, state or local authorities to provide day care services to adults with disabilities; and
  • HOMELESS SHELTERS providing meals to resident children living with a parent or guardian.

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The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP)

The CSFP provides food assistance for low-income seniors (at least 60 years of age) by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA in a monthly package of healthy USDA commodities. The CSFP is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), a department of the USDA whom USDA purchases food and makes it available to New York State Department of Health , along with funds for administrative costs. In 2013 the number of people participating in CSFP was approximately 34,000 monthly with over 20,000 senior families enrolled in CSFP received benefits to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers’ markets through the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program. Currently the CSFP is available in New York City and Long Island only. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, other new mothers up to one year postpartum, infants, and children up to age six were once able to participate in the program, but are being phased out by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79, the 2014 Farm Bill). As required by the 2014 Farm Bill, women, infants, and children who apply to participate in CSFP on February 7, 2014, or later cannot be certified to participate in the program..

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National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

The NSLP provides a healthy, nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunch for more than 30 million U.S. children.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 dayAny public school, charter, or nonprofit private school can participate in the National School Lunch Program, and public or nonprofit private residential child care institutions can also participate. Currently, the program is operating in over 100,000 schools.

New York State Education Department  annually receives funding from the federal government to support and further enhance New York’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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School Breakfast Program

The School Breakfast Program operates in the same manner as the National School Lunch Program. Generally, public or nonprofit private schools of high school grade or under and public or nonprofit private residential child care institutions may participate in the School Breakfast Program. The School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides cash assistance to states to operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions. The Food and Nutrition (FNS) service administers the SBP at the Federal level. New York State Education Department education administers the SBP at the state level, and local school food authorities operate the Program in schools.

Providing breakfast at school can also ensure that children are getting enough to eat. Children who eat  breakfast have been shown to work faster and make fewer mistakes in math problems and to perform better on vocabulary tests than those who did not eat or only had a partial breakfast.A brief compiled by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) outlines the correlation between breakfast and school performance among children, based on numerous research findings. The findings include how eating, and not eating, breakfast affects academics, brain function, and overall wellness. They also show improved concentration, alertness, comprehension, memory and learning.

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Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

SNAP offers nutrition assistance to millions of eligible, low-income individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP is the largest program in the domestic hunger safety net. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) issues electronic benefits that can be used like cash to purchase food. SNAP helps low-income working people, senior citizens, the disabled and others feed their families. Eligibility and benefit levels are based on household size, income and other factors. New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance  annually receives funding from the federal government to support and further enhance New York’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Research shows that low-income households participating in SNAP have access to more food energy, protein, and a broad array of essential vitamins and minerals in their home food supply compared to eligible nonparticipants. Nationwide, if there were a 5 percentage point increase in the SNAP participation rate, an additional 1.9 million low-income people would reap the nutrition benefits of SNAP. SNAP also helps participants manage their food resources more wisely through SNAP nutrition education.

For the past several decades, the legislation authorizing SNAP has been included in the Farm Bill. In fact, the nutrition title is the largest of the 12 titles covered in the Farm Bill. Of the programs covered by nutrition, SNAP accounts for 95% of all spending. Overall, nutrition spending makes up 80% of the total budget for the Farm Bill. Nutrition in the United States is thus very much determined by the provisions, policies and funding allocations in the U.S. Farm Bill.

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Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

WIC stands for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, breastfeeding support, and access to health care for low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children under five. The monthly WIC food package provides foods chosen to improve nutrition for pregnant women, new mothers, and children. WIC is not an entitlement program as Congress does not set aside funds to allow every eligible individual to participate in the program. WIC is a Federal grant program for which Congress authorizes a specific amount of funds each year for the program. WIC is housed within the state departments
of health and operates interdependently with other public health programs. Providing referral services
to health care and social services, WIC is a “gateway to the health care and social service systems,” which enables more comprehensive health promotion and disease prevention in the WIC population.  New York State Department of Health annually receives funding from the federal government to support and further enhance New York’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

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The Emergency Feeding Program (TEFAP)

The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) is a Federal program that helps supplement the diets of low-income Americans, including elderly people, by providing USDA commodities to families in need of short-term hunger relief through emergency food providers like food banks. TEFAP is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the USDA. Through TEFAP, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) purchases a variety of nutritious, high-quality USDA Foods, and using legislatively-mandated formula makes those foods available to State Distributing Agencies. The amount of food each State receives out of the total amount of food provided is based on the number of unemployed persons and the number of people with incomes below the poverty level in the State. In New York TEFAP is managed through the Office of General Services whom provides the food to New York’s eight food banks.

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