The Afterschool Meals Program (AMP) is a federal nutrition program that offers reimbursement for nutritious snacks and suppers served at non-profit afterschool activity sites in areas where families are experiencing economic hardship. Meals can be served to any child age 18 and under at no cost to the children or their parents. This program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and is administered in Florida by the Department of Health, Bureau of Child Care Food Programs (DOH BCFP).
Community Eligibility Provision
The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) is a non-pricing meal service option for schools and school districts in low-income areas. CEP allows the nation’s highest poverty schools and districts to serve breakfast and lunch at no cost to all enrolled students without collecting household applications. Instead, schools that adopt CEP are reimbursed using a formula based on the percentage of students categorically eligible for free meals based on their participation in other specific means-tested programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
Community SNAP Engagement
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)—formerly the Food Stamp Program—is a federal program which provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of qualifying low-income families and individuals so they can purchase enough to eat and ultimately move towards self-sufficiency. And the program is proven to work: Center on Budget and Policy Priority reports that half of all participants who begin receiving SNAP leave the program within a year, two-thirds leave within two years, and those who participate longest tend to be elderly individuals and people with disabilities. The goal of Community SNAP Engagement (CSE) in Florida is to reach individuals and families who could benefit from SNAP and research ways to improve access to nutritious food via SNAP. In the early fall of 2021, as part of this effort, we came together with community partners around the state to create a comprehensive trilingual survey for SNAP recipients. Hundreds of responses we collected. Then several regional focus groups were hosted to get more in-depth responses. We will continue this work with our wonderful partners and community for a healthier Florida.
Farm To Leon County Schools
Unfortunately, many children don't have access to proper food and nutrition education. Learning where your food comes from and how it can benefit your health can not only impact the wellness and outlook of children, but influence nutrition decisions well into their adult years. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers Farm to School grants for planning, developing, and implementing farm to school projects in schools across the nation. With one of those planning grants and an amazing group of community partners, we're now able to bring that mission to Leon County. From stocking cafeterias with local produce, to creating lush school gardens, to teaching kids healthy recipes, to visiting local farms and getting some hands-on learning experience with farm fresh produce, our goal is to tackle rising obesity rates and ensure that school meals benefit children, schools, and local farmers. Many kids rely on school meals as their only meals during weekdays: let's make them count.
Finding Inspiration Together (FIT)
The Finding Inspiration Together (FIT) project aims to provide free virtual courses on nutrition, exercise, and mindful activities to kids who are out of school. During the summer of 2021, we produced thirty videos covering various topics, such as MyPlate.gov, nutritious recipes, strength training, how to read food labels, the benefits of meditation, water safety, the importance of breakfast, nature walks, food hygiene, and much more. The videos were shared in groups (or "modules") each week so that kids could follow along and pace themselves. We hope to continue expanding this project and garner more viewers and, ultimately, provide more free, meaningful education to Florida's kids.
Florida Healthy Retail
In 2018, Florida Impact to End Hunger opened a new chapter in its work to fight hunger, by launching a healthy corner store project in Miami Gardens. Healthy corner stores represent an opportunity to bring higher nutrition foods into an existing food system in areas in need. Many communities rely on small retailers as their primary source of food. Unfortunately, these stores are often full of cheap, unhealthy choices and little to no fresh options. Poor diet, and other social determinants of health, may lead to chronic disease and other negative health outcomes. By bringing nutritious options into corner stores, shoppers have the option to make healthier choices. Effective branding and partnerships can help encourage this choice, by educating and supporting individuals and families on proper nutrition.
Miami Gardens Healthy Checkout addresses the lack of nutritious choices in the checkout line. Research shows that in-store marketing induces impulse buys, and we think large retailers should take on the responsibility to shift that marketing to healthier choices. Healthy Checkout policies seek to improve nutritional quality in the checkout areas of large retail stores. This holds stores accountable for the health and wellbeing of customers. It is almost impossible to avoid or ignore the overabundance of unhealthy choices in store checkout lanes. This product placement unfairly targets individuals who have no choice but to stand in line surrounded by these food and beverage choices, especially those shopping with children. This campaign seeks not to restrict individual choice, but rather to level the playing field between retailers/food corporations and shoppers' health.
Homestead Food Access Coalition
As part of the Florida Healthy Retail Program, the Homestead Food Access Coalition (HFAC) is made up of local leaders in the Homestead area. The group regularly meets to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas around helping the local community have better access to affordable, nutritious food. These efforts will then be used to create recommendations for City and County leadership. We have a Madison county counterpart in North Florida as well called the Madison Food Access Coalition, and hope to create more around the state.
Madison Food Access Coalition
The Madison Food Access Coalition (MFAC) is made up of local leaders in the Madison County area. The group regularly meets to share thoughts, concerns, and ideas around helping the local community have better access to affordable, nutritious food. These efforts will then be used to create recommendations for City and County leadership. We have a Homestead counterpart in South Florida as well called the Homestead Food Access Coalition, and hope to create more around the state.
The National School Breakfast Program (SBP)—run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture—makes it possible for all school children in the United States to receive a nutritious breakfast every day at school. Beginning as a pilot in 1966 and instituted in 1975, the SBP provides reimbursements to public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services administers the program in Florida, and all public elementary schools are required to implement a school breakfast program. All school districts must approve or disapprove a policy that makes universal free school breakfast available to all students in each school with 80 percent or more free and reduced-price certified students.
Statewide Food Recovery Project
More information coming soon...
There are thousands of Summer BreakSpot sites around the state that provide free meals and snacks to low-income children (18 and under) when school is out for the summer. Local governments, school districts, and non-profits sponsor these free summer meal sites, which include schools, parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, housing projects, migrant centers, Native American reservations, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs, houses of worship, summer camps and other sites. Most Summer BreakSpot sites are open to all children who go to the site during meal service times.