How to Incorporate the CACFP Into Your Meal Program

As part of our annual Fall into Place conference, NMOST created a video library with a wide range of videos for our conference participants to continue to access post-conference. 

A few of the videos included in the library provide resources and how-tos related to federally-funded meals programs. NMOST Meals Vista, Sophia Rose, and Program Coordinator, Kaski Suzuki put together a webinar-style video for the library that explains the consequences of food insecurity for children and how afterschool programs can go about incorporating a meal or snack into their activities in the afternoon or evening.

Here are The Steps to Incorporating the CACFP into your Program:

  1. Contact your state agency to determine eligibility! In NM that would be the ECECD
  2. Complete paperwork and send it back to your state agency! 
  3. Receive letter of approval from your state agency! 
  4. Start serving your meals/snacks! 

The video brings folks up to date on the key COVID-19 related waivers that make it possible for program providers to now serve up to 3 meals a day with more ease. Currently, the requirements that remain in effect to enroll in CACFP include the following:

  • The meal or snack still needs to be served after typical school hours
  • There should be an enrichment or educational activity in association with the meal or snack

The definition of what counts as an enrichment or an educational activity is kind of vague, but your state agency (in New Mexico that would be the ECECD) can always provide further guidance in this regard. 

If the program operates over the weekend then meals can also be sent home for those days. At this time, there is not a significant amount of oversight from the state agency, but we still recommend following the requirements to the best of your ability! For more information on serving meals over weekends and holidays check out this video from the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC).

Check out the video made by Sophia and Kaski for more insight into the issue of food insecurity, and in particular childhood hunger. The video also goes into more detail related to the At-Risk Meals Component of the CACFP and how to enroll.