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About the Program
The School Breakfast Program (SBP) provides funding to States to operate nonprofit breakfast programs in schools and residential childcare institutions. The program is administered at the Federal level by the US Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service. at the State level by the Oregon Department of Education, and local school food authorities operate it in schools.
The SBP serves school age children under 19 in settings where they attend school or residential child care facilities. Its goal is to provide a nutritionally balanced breakfast to children to help them concentrate and be more engaged.
More children start the day with breakfast: Students get a nutritionally balanced start to their day so they can do well mentally, physically, and socially. Compared to kids that don't eat school breakfast, those that do are less likely to be overweight, have improved nutrition, eat more fruits, drink more milk, and consume a wider variety of foods.
Greater cognition and health: Students are less likely to struggle academically or have health issues. There is mounting research demonstrating the cognitive and health impacts of breakfast for kids. For a review of information about these studies, visit FRAC's resource page.
Increased access: Families face challenges to providing breakfast for their kids, including tight food budgets or early-morning work, carpool, or bus schedules; the SBP provides a healthy option available for their kids.
Greater participation in learning: Studies suggest that students who eat breakfast increase their math and reading scores, do better on standardized tests, and improve both their speed and memory in cognitive tests. It has also been shown to positively impact absenteeism, tardiness, nurse visits, and behavioral incidents.
Strong child nutrition programs: School food nutrition departments benefit financially when they are able to reach more children in need with school breakfast; increased participation helps create economies of scale, and options such as Provision 2 and Community Eligible Provision help yield federal reimbursement dollars to support strong programs.
Children and families with incomes at or below 130% of the Federal poverty level are eligible for free meals. Children with families over 185% of poverty pay a full price.
Those with incomes between 130% and 185% of poverty are eligible for reduced-priced-meals, however the Oregon legislature provided funding to eliminate the reduced price payment for School Breakfast. Starting school year 2010-2011, breakfast has been accessible at no charge to students who qualify for reduced price meals.
Programs are operated by public schools, private non-profit schools (high school and under), private and non-profit residential child care facilities.
Schools across the country have found that substantially more children eat breakfast when it is served after the bell and free of charge for all students, when viable. By offering breakfast as part of the school day, schools can eliminate barriers such as bus schedules and stigma that get in the way of students eating this important meal. Many organizations have created tools to help teachers, schools and advocates promote school breakfast. Please see Oregon Department of Education's Breakfast in the Classroom Manual, Share Our Strength's Center for Best Practices and the Food Research and Action Center's research and tools on school breakfast.