Federal Nutrition Programs
As Wisconsin’s leading anti-hunger organization, Hunger Task Force advocates for fully funded and properly administered federal nutrition programs. Click below to learn more about the programs we care about and fight for to feed families.
FoodShare—formerly known as the food stamp program—is the first line of defense against hunger. Participants receiving benefits use a debit style (EBT) card to purchase healthy foods from grocery stores or Farmers’ Markets. FoodShare benefits may only be used to purchase food, not including hot or prepared items. 43% of FoodShare recipients are minors. 40% of FoodShare households have a member who is either elderly, blind or disabled. FoodShare is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the federal level. Program benefits are funded 100% by the federal government.
Hunger Task Force conducts FoodShare Outreach in Milwaukee County in three different community-based locations.
School Breakfast Program
The School Breakfast Program has become an integral part of many students’ school day. Every morning, more than 164,000 children in Wisconsin eat breakfast at school, almost 80% of whom qualify for free or reduced price meals. This nutrition program provides children with the substantial nutrients they need to learn, grow and be healthy.
Permanently established in 1975, the School Breakfast Program provides financial reimbursement to any enrolled school-public or private-for all breakfasts served that meet specific meal patterns and nutritional guidelines. Every breakfast served must include at least a fruit (or a vegetable), a whole grain-rich item and a non-fat or low-fat milk. The School Breakfast Program is a federally funded program through the Food and Nutrition Service of the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction.
All students may participate in the School Breakfast Program once a school is enrolled. However, breakfast prices and reimbursement rates for each meal served vary depending upon the student’s family income level.
There are many strategies to improve participation in School Breakfast. The strategy that has proven most effective time and again is changing the time and place that breakfast is offered. Hunger Task Force advocates for Breakfast After the Bell so that all students have access to breakfast.
Read more about the School Breakfast Program in Wisconsin in our Third Annual School Breakfast Report.
Community Eligibility Provision
What is Community Eligibility Provision?
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a simplified way to serve all students breakfast and lunch at no charge. CEP is a 4-year reimbursement option for eligible schools and districts participating in both the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program that wish to offer free school meals to all children without collecting free or reduced price meal applications.
How CEP Works
The Community Eligibility Provision replaces traditional free and reduced-price meal applications with a school-wide rate of reimbursement for meals served. The key to Community Eligibility Provision is having an Identified Student Percentage (ISP) of 40% or more. Identified Students are those who have already been identified as low-income by federal anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs. These include FoodShare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, W-2 assistance group, students in foster care or Head Start, or any student who is homeless or migrant. Identified Students are then directly certified for free meals without needing to fill out meal applications.
Schools, groups of schools or districts with an ISP at or above 40% can opt to enroll in CEP and serve 100% of school breakfasts and lunches free of charge to the entire student body. Federal reimbursement for meals served is determined based upon the percentage of Identified Students coupled with the current USDA multiplier of 1.6. This multiplier accounts for the undercount of low-income students that results when households do not participate in the programs for which they qualify. As the Identified Student Percentage increases, the amount of federal reimbursement increases as well.
Benefits of CEP
Increase in Participation
- Schools typically see a 10-20% increase in breakfast participation within the first year of implementing CEP, meaning fewer kids are going hungry.
Increase in Revenue
- Higher participation and reimbursement rates lead to significantly higher reimbursement revenue.
- One of the leading causes of why children do not participate in school meal programs is the stigma associated with kids that need the “free” breakfast or lunch. When free meals are served to all students, regardless of a family’s socioeconomic status, stigma is reduced.
Did Wisconsin Implement CEP Well in the first four years?
YES. In the 2016-17 school year, Wisconsin ranked 18th nationally in CEP implementation with 68% of all eligible schools adopting CEP (up from 62.5% in the 2015-16 school year). Of the highest poverty schools in Wisconsin (schools with an Identified Student Percentage over 60%), 95% have adopted CEP, ranking Wisconsin 5th in the nation. Because of the success of CEP in the first few years of implementation, schools have continued to enroll in CEP. Schools across the state are feeding more children and saving money in the process.
Is your school or district eligible? Did they enroll? Check out the list here.
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service (SFSP) provides nutritious meals to children (18 or younger) during the summer months. The SFSP provides financial reimbursement to any sponsor for up to two meals a day that meet specific meal pattern and nutritional guidelines. The SFSP is federally-funded through the USDA, but administered in Wisconsin through the Department of Public Instruction.
Hunger Task Force organizes a nationally recognized summer meals program in Milwaukee that provides up to three meals a day to children in the summer. Summer meals are provided at a variety of different sites in the community.
Are you interested in becoming a summer meal site or sponsor? Contact Ashley Kluck at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Women Infants & Children (WIC) Program
The Women Infants & Children Program (WIC) is a federal nutrition program that supports low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to five years of age with nutritious foods and nutrition education.
Child and Adult Care Food Program
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides nutritious meals for low-income children enrolled at child care centers, family child care homes, after-school programs and homeless shelters.
The At-Risk Afterschool Component of CACFP allows schools and child care centers to serve a reimbursable meal or snack after school hours to children 18 years and younger. Organizations operating CACFP must provide educational or enrichment activities for children to participate in, but students do not have to participate in the activities offered in order to receive a meal.
Are you interested in becoming a CACFP sponsor or site? Contact Ariana Stillman at email@example.com.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (Stockbox)
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program—known as Stockbox—provides a box of supplementary food to low-income seniors every month. Hunger Task Force delivers nearly 9,000 Stockboxes each month at local senior centers and subsidized housing sites. Hunger Task Force also administers the Senior Farmers Market Voucher Program, which provides seniors with $25 vouchers to purchase fresh produce at local farmers markets.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
Hunger Task Force administers The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Milwaukee County. TEFAP provides healthy emergency food, which is distributed free of charge to local pantries.
SNAP Nutrition Education
Hunger Task Force runs a unique child nutrition education program in collaboration with Milwaukee Public Schools. Our Dietitian Educator teaches a nutrition curriculum at three schools during the school year and hosts Community Learning Center (CLC) programs at the Farm throughout the summer. The program is free of charge and targets low-income students. Kids learn about healthy eating habits and recipes and taste-test fresh produce.
During the growing season, students make field trips out to our Farm to receive hands-on experience planting and harvesting produce in our quarter-acre school garden. The Farm’s demo-kitchen facility creates a special place for kids to taste-test and prepare healthy recipes with their garden produce. The program also incorporates physical activity with hiking trails and full-scale exercise equipment at the Farm.
Nutrition Program Quick Facts
- Over 300 kids from 5 MPS schools participated in 2014.
- Over 250 kids from 5 CLC sites participated in the summer of 2014.
- Schools have a free & reduced price meal participation rate of over 80%.
- Students made close to 60 field trips to the Farm throughout the growing season.
- Over 60 types of fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown in the Farm’s school garden.
Contact Bethany Soderlund at firstname.lastname@example.org.