Emergency shelters receive the
most meal benefits for children,
at the highest rates of
reimbursement, with the least
amount of paperwork than any
other type of facility in CACFP.
CACFP helps enhance the meal
services the shelter provides to
children and youths who are
residents. It gives the shelter
a steady stream of Federal money
for a nutritious meal service
that complements the other
services the shelter provides.
The reimbursement allows the
shelter to devote a smaller
portion of resources to
food-related expenses, freeing
up resources that can be used
for other activities.
Emergency shelters that
participate in CACFP provide
residential and food services to
To be eligible, the shelter must
be a public or private nonprofit
institution or a
temporary residential site sponsored by a public or
private nonprofit agency. The shelter may participate as a facility
under an existing CACFP sponsor,
or complete an application and
sign an agreement directly with
the CACFP State Agency.
Unlike most other CACFP facilities,
emergency shelters do not have to be licensed to provide day care. However,
must meet any health and safety codes that are required by State or
Who is eligible for CACFP meals?
CACFP serves children, including
teenagers 18 and younger, who
are emergency shelter residents. Persons with
disabilities, regardless of
their age, may also receive CACFP meals at the
shelters where they
Residents who receive
their meals at the shelter are
automatically eligible for free
meals. There are no
application forms for
parents or guardians to fill
All reimbursable meals are served in group
settings, at no cost to the
child or to the child’s parents
How are emergency shelters reimbursed?
Emergency shelters receive
payments for serving up to three
meals each day to each eligible
resident, on weekdays and
meals must meet
nutrition standards, with foods
like milk, meat, vegetables,
fruit, and bread.
Payments are based on the
number of meals and snacks
served at the free rate.
Shelters also receive 22.75 cents in
USDA foods or cash-in-lieu of
commodity foods for each CACFP lunch or supper served. As of July 1,
2012, the rates paid (in U.S.
dollars) to shelters in most States (payments are higher in Alaska and Hawaii) are:
Lunch or Supper
Where can you
get more information?
To learn more about CACFP
and how you can participate, contact the child
nutrition staff at your