Federal Nutrition Programs
As Wisconsin’s leading anti-hunger organization, Hunger Task Force advocates for fully funded and properly administered federal nutrition programs. Click below to learn more about the programs we care about and fight for to feed families.
FoodShare—formerly the food stamp program—is the first line of defense against hunger. Participants receiving benefits use a debit style card to purchase healthy foods from grocery stores or Farmers’ Markets. FoodShare is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) at the federal level. Program benefits are funded 100% by the government.
Hunger Task Force conducts FoodShare Outreach in Milwaukee County in four different community-based locations.
School Breakfast Program
The School Breakfast Program is a federally-funded program administered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The School Breakfast Program provides financial reimbursement to any enrolled school, public or private, for all breakfast served that meet specific meal patterns and nutritional guidelines.
All students may participate in the School Breakfast Program once a school is enrolled. However, breakfast prices and reimbursement rates for each meal served vary depending upon the student’s family income level. Students qualify for free meals with a household income below 130% of the federal poverty level, and for reduced-price meals with a household income below 185% of the federal poverty level.
There are many strategies to improve participation in School Breakfast. The strategy that has proven most effective time and again is changing the time and place that breakfast is offered. Hunger Task Force advocates for Breakfast After the Bell so that all students have access to breakfast.
Read more about the School Breakfast Program in Wisconsin in our Second Annual School Breakfast Report.
Community Eligibility Provision
What is Community Eligibility Provision?
Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is an innovative federal program targeting high-need schools. CEP allows schools and districts with high percentages of free and reduced-price meal eligible students to serve all students breakfast and lunch free of charge.
How CEP Works
Community Eligibility Provision replaces traditional free and reduced-price meal applications with a school-wide rate oof reimbursement for meals served. The key to Community Eligibility Provision is having an Identified Student Percentage (ISP) of 40% or more. Identified Students are those who have already been identified as low-income by federal anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs. These include FoodShare, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, W-2 assistance group, students in foster care or Head Start, or any student who is homeless or migrant. Identified Students are then directly certified for free meals without needing to fill out meal applications.
Schools, groups of schools or districts with an ISP at or above 40% can opt to enroll in CEP and serve 100% of school breakfasts and lunches free of charge to the entire student body. Federal reimbursement for meals served is determined based upon the percentage of Identified Students coupled with the current USDA multiplier of 1.6. This multiplier accounts for the undercount of low-income students that results when households do not participate in the programs for which they qualify. As the Identified Student Percentage increases, the amount of federal reimbursement increases as well.
Benefits of CEP
Increase in Participation
- Schools typically see a 10-20% increase in breakfast participation within the first year of implementing CEP, meaning fewer kids are going hungry.
Increase in Revenue
- Higher participation and reimbursement rates lead to significantly higher reimbursement revenue.
- One of the leading causes of why children do not participate in school meal programs is the stigma associated with kids that need the “free” breakfast or lunch. When free meals are served to all students, regardless of a family’s socioeconomic status, stigma is reduced.
Did Wisconsin Implement CEP Well in the First Few Years?
In one word, YES. In the 2015-16 school year, Wisconsin ranked 15th nationally in CEP implementation with 62% of all eligible schools adopting CEP. Of the highest poverty schools in Wisconsin (schools with an Identified Student Percentage over 60%), 90% have adopted CEP, ranking Wisconsin 8th in the nation. Because of the success of CEP in the first few years of implementation, schools have continued to enroll in CEP. Schools across the state are feeding more children and saving money in the process.
Is your school or district eligible? Did they enroll? Check out the list here.
Summer Food Service Program
The Summer Food Service (SFSP) provides nutritious meals to children during the summer months. Hunger Task Force organizes a nationally recognized summer meals program that provides three meals a day to children through SFSP. Click here for a list of sites across Milwaukee.
Women Infants & Children (WIC) Program
The Women Infants & Children Program (WIC) is a federal nutrition program that supports low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants and children up to five years of age with nutritious foods and nutrition education.
Child and Adult Care Food Program
The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides nutritious meals for low-income children enrolled at child care centers, family child care homes, after-school programs and homeless shelters. CACFP also provides meals to senior citizens attending non-residential day care centers.
Commodity Supplemental Food Program (Stockbox)
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program—known as Stockbox—provides a box of supplementary food to low-income seniors every month. Hunger Task Force delivers nearly 9,000 Stockboxes each month at local senior centers and subsidized housing sites. Hunger Task Force also administers the Senior Farmers Market Voucher Program, which provides seniors with $25 vouchers to purchase fresh produce at local farmers markets.
The Emergency Food Assistance Program
Hunger Task Force administers The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in Milwaukee County. TEFAP provides healthy emergency food, which is distributed free of charge to local pantries.
SNAP Nutrition Education
Hunger Task Force runs a unique child nutrition education program in collaboration with Milwaukee Public Schools. Our Dietitian Educator teaches a nutrition curriculum at five schools during the school year and hosts five Community Learning Center (CLC) programs at the Farm throughout the summer. The program is free of charge and targets low-income kids. They learn healthy eating habits and recipes, and taste-test fresh produce.
During the growing season, students make field trips out to our Farm to receive hands-on experience planting and harvesting produce in our quarter-acre school garden. The Farm’s new kitchen facility also creates a special place for kids to taste-test and prepare healthy recipes with their garden produce. The program also incorporates physical activity with hiking trails and full-scale exercise equipment at the Farm.
Nutrition Program Quick Facts
- Over 300 kids from 5 MPS schools participated in 2014.
- Over 250 kids from 5 CLC sites participated in the summer of 2014.
- Schools have a free & reduced price meal participation rate of over 80%.
- Students made close to 60 field trips to the Farm throughout the growing season.
- Over 60 types of fruits, vegetables and herbs are grown in the Farm’s school garden.
Contact Lauren Haska at (414) 777-0483 or lauren.haska(at)hungertaskforce.org