SNAP and the school meal programs

The Great Recession and its immediate aftermath have brought increasing attention both to food insecurity among children and to the associated food safety net. This chapter examines how SNAP functions as a component of the broader food assistance safety net for school-age children, focusing on connections between SNAP and the school meal programs at a policy level, as well patterns in children’s participation across programs. Food assistance programs are a mainstay of children’s overall household resources. Nearly half of children used at least one, often more, during any 4-month period; and for an average low-income child, food assistance comprised almost one-fifth of total household food and nonfood resources, a figure that rises to 35 percent of resources among children who participate in all three programs. While there is a substantial degree of overlap among programs, there is nonetheless considerable variation in the ways children access and package programs, both cross-sectionally and over time.



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Judith Bartfeld


SNAP and the school meal programs