President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) into law in 1946 as a measure of National Security. He did so after reading a study that revealed many young men were rejected from the World War II draft due medical conditions caused by childhood malnutrition. Since that time the National School Lunch Program has made over 180 million free or reduced price lunches available to children attending public and private schools and childcare institutions. The NSLP works through federal reimbursements paid to schools serving free or reduce priced lunches. Lunches served as a part of the National School Lunch Program must meet USDA meal guidelines. Every day, over 300,000 children eat a school lunch in Connecticut.
The School Breakfast Program (SBP) is a federally funded meals program that started in 1966. The SBP provides nutritious breakfasts to students and gets them ready to learn. As with the case with school lunches, children are eligible for free, reduced, or fully-paid breakfasts based in their families’ incomes. Unfortunately, Connecticut is last in the nation for the number of schools offering school breakfast and only 47.4% of low-income students are eating breakfast at school.
These programs include the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option of the National School Lunch Program. They were created by the federal government to provide the benefits of school lunch and breakfast during the summer when school is not in session. Summer Meals Programs provide reimbursements to schools, local government agencies, and private non-profit organizations that serve free meals and snacks to children at sites located in low-income areas or that serve primarily low-income children. As great as this program is, only 1/4 of children who eat free or reduced lunch at school are participating in Summer Meals in Connecticut.
WIC is a federally funded nutrition program that helps low-income pregnant women, new mothers and children age 5 and under stay healthy and eat well. WIC provides nutritious foods, nutrition education, and access to health care. Connecticut has seen a steady increase in those using the WIC program-more than 50,000 women, infants, and children in CT use WIC.
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is federally funded and provides reimbursement for meals and snacks served in child and adult daycare facilities as well as to children in emergency shelters. Connecticut is now one of thirteen states with the At-Risk Supper Program, allowing suppers to be served to kids 18 and under (year round) in low-income areas. Family day care participation has decreased 50% in the last 10 years due to a federal programmatic change that caused many providers to drop the program.
The “Supper” Program, formally the At-Risk Afterschool Meals Program, is an opportunity provided by the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program. The program provides free, nutritious meals to students 18 years and younger in eligible afterschool enrichment programs. Lunch is often a distant memory by the time students arrive at afterschool programs and some do not always have access to an evening meal at home. This program fills that gap and can increase a child’s capacity to focus on enrichment activities, which further his or her education.
SNAP is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which offers nutrition assistance to eligible individuals and families and provides economic benefits to communities. SNAP helps individuals and families purchase food at participating supermarkets, groceries, and farmers markets. This federally funded program was created to help income-eligible recipients eat well and stay healthy. The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture and the CT State Department of Social Services.
EHC! Call Center
Associates from EHC!’s SNAP Call Center are available to assist you in applying for SNAP. Our associates can answer many questions that you may have regarding eligibility, documentation and income requirements, periodic review forms, redeterminations, and MyAccount set up for your State Department of Social Services personalized account. Clients can call and complete an application in 10-15 minutes. The call center operates in both Spanish and English. Just call our toll-free SNAP Call Center at 866-974-SNAP (7627).
EHC! SNAP Outreach
EHC! also offers in person assistance with SNAP applications and redeterminations throughout Connecticut at a variety of locations including WIC offices, senior centers, senior housing, libraries, and food pantries.
The Elderly Nutrition Program provides older adults access to healthy meals, nutrition education, and nutrition counseling through its Congregate and Home Delivered Meals (or Meals on Wheels) Program. The Congregate Meals Program provides meals and related nutrition services in congregate settings and the Home Delivered Meals Program provides meals and related nutrition services for older adults who are homebound. The target population for the Elderly Nutrition Program are adults age 60 and up who have greatest social and economic need. (Source: Administration on Aging)