A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

New data reveals Kentucky is making progress in fighting after-school hunger for children


By Mary Kuhlman
Public News Service

Kentucky is making progress in ensuring kids don’t go to bed on an empty stomach.

According to new data from the Food Research and Action Center, more than 17,000 low-income children participated in after-school supper programs each day on average in October 2017. That’s a 16 percent increase from 2016.

Elizabeth Fiehler, child and adult care food program manager at the Kentucky Department of Education, said the meals help stave off hunger until children can receive a school breakfast in the morning.

Along with providing meals and snacks, after-school supper programs offer homework help and other enrichment activities to keep children engaged. (Photo by USDA)

“This program is intended to create a continuation of the meals that the children receive throughout the school day,” she said. “So, they get breakfast and lunch at school and then this program would provide a supper and/or a snack, which would continue that day for them.”

However, she added, just one of every 25 low-income Kentucky kids who received a free or reduced-price lunch also received an after-school supper. The report noted that because after-school suppers are a relatively new option, all states have room to grow participation.

After-school supper programs typically are held at churches, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs and other community organizations. Fiehler said there’s a great need for additional public and private funding to increase the number of after-school programs where meals can be hosted.

“We are looking for any community partners that maybe have a program like this that they’d like to start or a program like this that they’ve already implemented so that we can then incorporate the meal into the existing program,” she said.

In addition to meals and snacks, she said, after-school programs offer learning enrichment activities to keep children engaged. Nationally, more than 1.2 million kids participated in after-school suppers on an average weekday in October 2017.

The report is online at frac.org.


Related Posts

Leave a Comment