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School Breakfast Program - Participation and Meals Served

This data provides historical summaries of total participation and meals served as part of the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) School Breakfast Program. The summary data begins in 1969, the year that FNS was established to administer USDA's nutrition assistance program.

The School Breakfast Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It began as a pilot project in 1966, and was made permanent in 1975. The School Breakfast Program is administered at the Federal level by the Food and Nutrition Service. At the State level, the program is usually administered by State education agencies, which operate the program through agreements with local school food authorities in more than 89,000 schools and institutions.

School districts and independent schools that choose to take part in the breakfast program receive cash subsidies from the USDA for each meal they serve. In return, they must serve breakfasts that meet Federal requirements, and they must offer free or reduced price breakfasts to eligible children.

Any child at a participating school may purchase a meal through the School Breakfast Program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals.

Release Date
USDA, Food and Nutrition Service
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Location
United States, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, and overseas schools attended by children of armed forces (Department of Defense) personnel
Temporal Coverage
January 1, 1969
Data Dictionary
Contact Name
Kreh, Tim
Contact Email
Public Access Level
Program Code
005:054 - Department of Agriculture - Child Nutrition Programs
Bureau Code
005:84 - Food and Nutrition Service