On an average day in California, more than 5.2 million nutritious meals are served at over 37,000 locations. These meals are funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. The California Department of Education (CDE) disburses over $2.6 billion in federal and State funds to support schools, child care centers, family day care homes, adult care centers, park and recreation centers, and other eligible agencies in providing nutritious meals and snacks. In 2010–11, the CDE distributed over $146 million in USDA Foods to eligible public and private nonprofit agencies throughout the State for use in preparing meals. The number of children participating in USDA meal programs increased by nearly 17,000 from 2009–10 to 2010–11.
The CDE also administers the USDA’s:
- Special Milk Program, which assists schools, summer camps, and eligible agencies in providing over 2.3 million half-pint servings of milk annually to children
- Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which monthly provides over 77,000 low-income, breastfeeding mothers, pregnant women, children under age six, and elderly people with USDA Foods designed to meet their nutritional needs