ERS’s Charts of Note series, like the above, provides daily snapshots of highlights from current and previous research on food assistance and other topics. Each provides a graph or map with accompanying text.
Sometimes called the “most important meal of the day” for school-aged children, breakfast is available at nearly 90,000 schools across the country courtesy of USDA’s School Breakfast Program. On an average school day in fiscal 2014, some 13.5 million students participated. The Economic Research Service (ERS) illustrates the growth of the program in a new entry in its popular daily “Charts of Note” series. As the chart indicates, participation has more than doubled since 1996.
The School Breakfast Program, permanently authorized in 1975, is newer than the arguably-more-renowned National School Lunch Program, established nearly three decades earlier in 1946. The statistics tell an interesting story. Throughout the history of the School Breakfast Program, the number of participating children was considerably smaller than in the National School Lunch Program and is still less than half. Nevertheless, as the breakfast program funding increased—and grants to schools to help start up the program became more available—the number of schools participating in the breakfast program has steadily grown, making it available to more students. Read more »
USDA and its partners help make the healthy choice the easy choice for America’s young people.
This guest blog was submitted by Ellen Parker of Massachusetts’ statewide anti-hunger advocacy organization, Project Bread. As America deals with obesity more than ever, school cafeterias are supporting better nutrition for our kids and echoing public health efforts taking place across the country. USDA is committed to working closely with students, parents, school stakeholders and community partners to continue supporting nutrition guidelines that make the healthy choice, the easy choice for America’s young people.
By Ellen Parker, Executive Director, Project Bread
At Project Bread, it is our belief that the opposite of hungry is not simply full, but healthy. We constantly strive to ensure that every person, across Massachusetts, has consistent access to fresh, healthy foods that meet their needs. And ensuring children have access to healthy meals in school is a major part of that. Read more »
As the school year begins to wind down, let’s take time to acknowledge the unsung heroes in our nation’s school cafeterias. School nutrition employees contribute greatly to a child’s short- and long-term health and academic success, but their contributions often go without recognition. Today is School Lunch Hero Day, and next week (May 5-9) is School Nutrition Employee Week. Let’s take this opportunity to extend our thanks for all that school nutrition employees do to support our children throughout the entire school year.
School nutrition employees often arrive well before the school buses begin rolling in, working to ensure that students have access to a healthy breakfast to start the school day. Their commitment to these early mornings is invaluable, as we know that breakfast plays a key role in a child’s ability to learn. Before the breakfast period ends, staff members are often doing double duty as they begin preparations for the lunch meal. They’re on their feet, working hard to ensure that our school children receive healthy and tasty meals to fuel their day.
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