Food Programs

Free and Reduced Price Meal Applications

USDA is responsible for providing a safety net for millions of Americans who are food-insecure and for developing and promoting dietary guidance based on scientific evidence.  USDA works to increase food security and reduce hunger by providing children and low-income people access to food, a healthful diet and nutrition education in a way that supports American agriculture and inspires public confidence. USDA provides critical nutrition assistance through Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs that include child nutrition programs, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and emergency food assistance among many other programs. 

Child Nutrition Programs

Child Nutrition Programs administered by FNS provide healthy food to children through programs that include the National School Lunch ProgramSchool Breakfast ProgramChild and Adult Care Food ProgramSummer Food Service Program and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

During summer months, USDA works with community sponsors to serve millions of meals to low-income children through the Summer Food Service Program. This program helps fight hunger and obesity by reimbursing organizations such as schools, child care centers, and after-school programs for providing healthy meals to children.

Additional Nutrition Programs

USDA administers many other programs to strengthen the nutrition safety net. For example, the FNS Food Distribution Programs distribute USDA-purchased food to school children and low-income families, emergency feeding programs, Indian reservations, and the elderly. USDA purchases a variety of food products in support of the National School Lunch program and other federal feeding programs. These purchases help to stabilize prices in agricultural commodity markets by balancing supply and demand.

In addition, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, within the Office of the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services, works to improve the health of all Americans by developing and promoting dietary guidance that links scientific research to the nutrition needs of consumers. It provides national leadership, technical expertise, and cooperation for development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and Federal nutrition and economic initiatives.

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