Does the Universal School Breakfast and Lunch Program Work?

Does the Universal School Breakfast and Lunch Program Work?

Does the Universal School Breakfast and Lunch Program Work?

There has recently been a resurgence in discussion about the Universal School Breakfast and Lunch programs throughout the US.

The program mandates that any school serving more than 80% of its students a free or reduced lunch can forego the application process required of parents and offer a free breakfast and lunch to all its students.

Qualification is monitored on the state level, and its purpose is to not only make it easier on parents and administrators in processing and managing paperwork and verification, but to alleviate the stigma that students have in not wanting other students to know they’re receiving assistance with their meals.

I am curious to know how well that’s working for the schools who participate. I think that it has probably increased the number of students who participate in the breakfast program, which is an important part of helping students get the necessary energy to start their day learning and achieving while also showing a decrease in discipline and behavioral problems and visits to the school nurse.

Previous statistics indicated that only 47 children out of every 100 who qualified for the federally-funded free or reduced price school breakfast ever participated in the program. So has the Universal School Breakfast/Lunch program increased those statistics? Are more children eating the free breakfasts and lunches being offered?

If the program is working the way it was intended, we should also be seeing an increase in lunch participation and ultimately give the schools the ability to provide a more nutritious meal than what many students are able to get at home. Has the reduction in paperwork and verification saved the school time and money? And most importantly, are these schools serving more students during both meal services?

I would love to hear what’s happening at your school! Please reply or leave your comments and continue the discussion.

Kern Halls, School Foodservice Consultant and Chief Innovator of Ingenious Culinary Concepts, turns empty dining halls into gold mines of student activity! By seeking out and combining just the right “ingredients” to accomplish what many call impossible: Halls gets students to “want” to dine in your cafeterias!

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