USDA’s School Breakfast Program served about 59 billion meals from 1975 through 2020

This is a bar graph showing the total breakfasts served by the USDA School Breakfast Program mixed with a line graph showing the percent free or reduced-price, in fiscal years 1975 to 2020

The USDA’s School Breakfast Program (SBP) was permanently authorized as a Child Nutrition Program in 1975. In fiscal year (FY) 2019, the program served about 14.8 million children each school day across 90,833 schools and residential childcare institutions. Any student in a participating school can get an SBP breakfast. Students may be eligible for either a free, reduced-price, or full-price breakfast depending on their household’s income. Students can receive a free breakfast if their household’s income is at or below 130 percent of the Federal poverty line (FPL), a reduced-price breakfast if their household’s income is between 130 and 185 percent of the FPL, and a full-price breakfast if their household’s income is above 185 percent of the FPL. From 1975 through FY 2020, the program has served nearly 59 billion breakfasts. On average, 85 percent of breakfasts were served for free or at a reduced price each year. The onset of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in March 2020 interrupted the operations of many schools, thereby disrupting the provision of breakfasts through the SBP in FY 2020. As a result, about 1.8 billion breakfasts were served through the program in that year, roughly 620 million fewer than the amount served in FY 2019. This drop reflects the use of COVID-19 waivers that allowed schools to serve meals through the Summer Food Service Program. The data for this chart are from the USDA, Economic Research Service’s School Breakfast Program page on the Child Nutrition Programs topic page.

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