Nutrition Assistance Programs in the United States

The United States Federal Government supports a nationwide range of child nutrition programs designed to support schools and child care institutions to help provide nutritious meals to school children and to help them learn proper nutrition. Working in partnership with State and local governments the Federal Government programs reimburse schools for meals served to the children.

Programs include:

          • The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) provides cash and commodity support for lunches and snacks, suppers served by local schools, along with nutrition education. Participation by schools is voluntary.  Schools must serve meals which meet Federal nutrient requirements, keep proper records, and report on their meal programs.

          • The School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides cash reimbursements for breakfasts.  The program is much like the National School Lunch Program.

          • The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP) provides cash to help low-income schools serve fresh fruits and vegetables.

          • The Special Milk Program (SMP) provides cash to help schools provide milk to children free or at a low price in order to encourage consumption.  This program is limited to schools not participating in other programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, so it is a relatively small program.

          • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) - The WIC food packages provide supplemental foods designed to meet the special nutritional needs of low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, non-breastfeeding postpartum women, infants and children up to five years of age who are at nutritional risk.