Child Nutrition

The IHC advocates for several child nutrition programs at the state, local, and federal levels. read below to find out more:

School Breakfast Program

The School Breakfast Program is a federal child nutrition program that operates in public and private nonprofit schools and residential child care institutions. Participating schools receive reimbursement for breakfasts which meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's nutritional requirements. Breakfast can be served through a variety of service models including the traditional model before school and breakfast after the bell (BATB)models such as breakfast in the classroom and grab and go.

The IHC was essential for helping craft and pass legislation for the first statewide School Breakfast Mandate in the US. In Illinois, if 40% or more of a school's population is eligible for free or reduced price (FRP) school meals, then schools must offer breakfast. If 70% or more of a school is FRP, then schools must offer BATB.

The IHC assists schools with starting or expanding their breakfast programs by connecting them with grants and resources, providing technical assistance, and working with each school to develop a breakfast program that fits their needs and culture.

IHC also advocates for BATB as a model to help increase breakfast participation in Illinois. According to the Food Research and Action Center's most recent School Breakfast Scorecard, Illinois ranks 43 out of the 50 states in terms of breakfast participation.

IHC also assists schools in applying for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which was established by the 2010 Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and allows schools with a certain percentage of FRP students to provide school meals to all of their students for free. The CEP deadline is June 30th every year.

Summer Food Service Program

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) are federal nutrition programs that provide free and nutritious meals to children 18 years old and younger. Children ages 19-21 who have a disability and who have participated in a school program during the school year and have an IEP on file may also receive meals. The SFSP and SSO are sponsored by the USDA and administered by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The IHC's Hunger Hotline serves as the statewide phone number for families to call to find a summer meal site near them. IHC also assists interested community and nonprofit organizations, churches, libraries, and park districts in becoming a summer meal site and promoting the site within their community. The IHC also creates community-specific flyers to help community residents find sites near them.

According to the Food Research and Action Center's 2018 report

"Hunger Doesn't Take a Vacation" participation in the SFSP in Illinois declined by 2.7% from 2016 to 2017. Read the full IHC

statement here.

For more information, visit the IHC Resources page or call the IHC at (312) 629-9580.

Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a federal nutrition program that provides nutritious food, nutrition education, and access to health care to low-income pregnant women, new mothers, infants, and children under 5.

IHC screens for eligibility for WIC through the Hunger Hotline and the SNAP Outreach team, and partners with community groups and agencies across the state to educate communities about this essential early intervention program.

Child and Adult Care Food Program

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides healthy meals and snacks to children in day care homes and centers, family day care homes, and emergency shelters, as well as to adults in nonresidential adult day care centers, and youths participating in eligible after school programs.

IHC educates schools and community and faith-based organizations about the At Risk After School Snack and Supper Program and assists interested programs with acquiring the resources necessary to start serving snacks or suppers.

Illinois hunger coalition