Child Nutrition Programs

Every child in Colorado should be able to access an adequate amount of healthy food to thrive and achieve their potential. Child nutrition programs, including school breakfast, after-school meals and snacks, and summer meals, invest in the health, education and development of Colorado kids.


School Breakfast Program

School breakfast is critical to students’ growth, learning and health. Students who attend schools that participate in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Breakfast Program have higher achievement scores in math, science and reading than students in schools that don’t participate. You can get involved in helping ensure that children get a nutritious start to their school day!

The School Breakfast Program is a federal nutrition program, which provides reimbursement to schools that serve breakfast to students. Hunger Free Colorado works with the Colorado Department of Education, school districts, schools and communities to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program. We worked to pass Breakfast After the Bell in 2013, so more students have a nutritious start to their school day.

Encourage families to enroll or re-enroll for Free or Reduced-Price (FRP) meals, so their children can start off the day in a nutritious way by accessing school lunches and possibly breakfast.

Utilize our resources:


After-School Nutrition

After-school programs provide parents with a place to support the academic, social and emotional well-being of children. For many children, the meals and snacks  served within this setting can be a great source of nutrition as well as an opportunity for them to learn healthy eating habits. When paired with nutritious snacks and/or suppers, these after school programs create a win-win that benefits a child’s ability to learn, physical development, school readiness and future eating habits.

After-school providers agree that meals and snacks attract children to out-of-school-time programs and help them stay active and engaged in activities while their parents are working. Providing healthy meals and snacks is particularly important given the rapidly increasing prevalence of childhood poverty. By providing healthy food, after school programs can play a critical role in preventing hunger and improving overall child health.

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is a federal nutrition program that provides reimbursement for nutritious meals and snacks served to children enrolled in child care programs. In Colorado, CACFP is administered by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Schools, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, for-profit organizations and local governments that are located in low-income communities are eligible to receive reimbursement for meals and snacks served to children. At-risk after-school care programs may participate as an independent after-school program or through a sponsor. In addition, a school that participates in “expanded learning time” may participate.

For an overview of the program and how to get started, view slides from “An Introduction to Summer and After-school meals“.

To learn more, contact the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Child and Adult Care Food Program (CDPHE-CACFP). Call (303) 692-2330 to receive an application packet.

Download fact sheets and fliers for providers:

Compare With Confidence: After-school Programs (Printable Color Version)
Compare With Confidence: After-school Programs (Printable B&W Version)


Summer Meals

The Summer Food Service Program is a federal nutrition program designed to ensure that children ages 1-18 have access to healthy meals and snacks during summer break. You can support the children in your community!

  • Become a summer food sponsor, if your organization already provides services to the community. For more information, visit the Colorado Department of Education’s sponsor information web page.
  • Host a summer meal site, in addition to recreational or enrichment activities. You can host a site at a church, park, nonprofit site, recreation center or other qualifying area. Contact the Colorado Department of Education to learn more, then use the Summer Meal Toolkit to promote your location.
  • Be a vendor. Organizations with kitchens and food service staff, including schools, commercial companies, or public or nonprofit institutions, can participate as vendors. Instead of administering or supervising a meal service site, a vendor sells prepared meals under an agreement or a contract with an approved sponsor. Learn more and register with the Colorado Department of Education.
  • Volunteer. If your organization cannot take on the responsibilities as a sponsor or site, you can team up with a sponsor to provide time, space, resources, financial support, and/or a community voice for existing programs. To find a summer meals site near you, visit KidsFoodFinder.org and reach out to see if and how they could use use support.
  • Promote your local summer meal site(s). Share KidsFoodFinder.org and the Hunger Free Hotline (855-855-4626) with community members, local news outlets and other organizations.

The Summer Food Service Program is a federally-funded child nutrition program established to ensure that children, ages 18 and younger, can access nutritious meals when school is out for summer break. Free meals, that meet the nutrition guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, are provided to all children at approved site locations with significant concentrations of low-income children. Sites are operated by diverse partners, including schools, private nonprofits, food banks, faith-based organizations, local government agencies and others. In Colorado, SFSP is administered by the Colorado Department of Education

For an overview of the program and how to get started, view slides from “An Introduction to Summer and After-school meals“.

For a toolkit highlighting the special role municipalities can play in summer and afterschool meals, viewFueling Our Children for Success: The Role of Cities in Reducing Child Hunger