Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

Meal Programs - CalEdFacts

This content is part of California Department of Education's information and media guide about education in the State of California. For similar information on other topics, visit the full CalEdFacts.

On an average day in California, more than 6.1 million nutritious meals are served at nearly 43,000 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 $2.5 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 2014–15, the CDE distributed over $162 million in USDA Foods to eligible public and private nonprofit agencies throughout the state for use in preparing meals.

The CDE also administers the USDA’s:

  • Special Milk Program, which assists schools, summer camps, and eligible agencies in providing nearly 1.7 million half-pint servings of milk annually to children.
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program, which monthly provides over 77,000 low-income elderly people at least 60 years of age, with USDA Foods designed to meet their nutritional needs.
Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Related Content
  • After School
    Information and resources about healthy snacks, nutrition education, as well as physical activity for after school programs.
  • Child & Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)
    Information about meal programs offered at public and private child care centers, day care homes, adult day care centers, and homeless shelters under CACFP.
  • Food Programs
    Child nutrition programs data and statistics, including county profiles, free and reduced price data, school meal nutrition analysis, and summer meal service sites.
  • School Nutrition
    Meal and milk programs offered at public and private non-profit schools and residential child care institutions.
  • Summer Meal Programs
    Federal meal programs for children from low-income areas during vacation and off-track periods.
Recently Posted in Nutrition

  • DCH Meal Benefit Form for Providers (DOC) (added 06-Mar-2017)
    Day care home provider application for Tier I reimbursement and/or claiming meals served to children living in the provider's household.
  • Prior Approval for CACFP Allowable Costs (added 27-Feb-2017)
    Management Bulletin CACFP-03-2017: Prior Approval for Child and Adult Care Food Program Allowable Costs.
  • CNIPS Training Registration (added 14-Feb-2017)
    Information about CDE-sponsored courses, training locations, and registrations are available on the CNIPS Training Registration Web page. This Web page is accessed from the CNIPS Home Page by selecting the Training Registration link.
  • Food Service Management Company Rebids 2017-18 (added 14-Feb-2017)
    School Food Authorities required to rebid Food Service Management Company contracts for School Year 2017-18.
  • Two-cent Differential Reimbursement for New SFAs (added 30-Jan-2017)
    MB SNP-04-2017, USDA Policy Memo SP 30-2014: Determining Eligibility for Two-cent Differential Reimbursement and SP 23-2005: Eligibility for Severe Need Rates for the School Breakfast Program.