National Landscape: School Lunch

The National School Lunch Program is the largest nutrition program available to children through school.

Since Congress approved the National School Lunch Act in 1946, the National School Lunch Program has become the largest nutrition program available to children through school. Many families, however, still struggle to pay even the reduced-price fee, and stigma stops many others from participating in the program. As a result, nearly a million eligible students are missing out and many schools are faced with the time-consuming challenge of collecting fees for unpaid meals.


A solution to these barriers is for high poverty schools or districts to offer breakfast and lunch at no charge to students through the Community Eligibility Provision, which helps schools reduce both red tape and stigma.


Participation rate is measured by the percent of free and reduced-price eligible children who are receiving school lunch.

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