The School Breakfast Program (SBP) has been serving breakfast to school children across the nation since the pilot program began in 1966. Today, more than 8.5 million children nationwide participate in the SBP. Statewide, the participation number is over 200,000.
Numerous studies, including research from Harvard and Tufts Universities, have shown a direct correlation between school breakfast participation and academic performance. In addition, breakfast participation has shown to improve school attendance, students' attention spans, and performance of tasks; fewer problems with irritability, anxiety and aggression were also noted.
How does it work?
The SBP is a federal and state reimbursement program for each breakfast served that meets federal requirements. All SBP sponsors are required to offer free and reduced - price breakfasts to eligible children. Reimbursement rates are established by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) annually.
Who may participate?
Any public school, intermediate unit, charter school, area vocational technical or career technology school, public residential child care institution and tax exempt non-public school or residential child care institution may apply to be a SBP sponsor.
How do children qualify for free or reduced price breakfast?
Children from families with incomes at or below 130% of the poverty level, children in families receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or children in families receiving food stamp benefits are eligible for free breakfasts. Those children in families whose income is between 130% and 185% of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price breakfasts.
What are the meal requirements?
To qualify for reimbursement, SBP sponsors must meet certain requirements depending upon the menu option they have selected for their school. In the Traditional and Food Based Menu Options, there are specific minimum requirements in three food components that consist of four food items. The three food components are Meat/Meat Alternate and/or Breads/Grains, Juice/Fruit/Vegetable and Fluid Milk as a beverage or on cereal or both. The NuMenu and Assisted NuMenu Options are based on three menu items: Fluid Milk served as a beverage or on cereal or both and two other food items except a food of minimal nutritional value. In all menu options, the serving sizes/amounts vary depending on the age of the students.