West Chester, Pa (September 9, 2022) – This year, all Pennsylvania students can begin the school day with a good, nutritious, meal thanks to the Universal Free School Breakfast Program, state Senator Carolyn Comitta announced today.
“Access to a healthy meal to start off the school day is important for a more fulfilling and productive educational experience for our children,” Comitta said. “By providing universal free breakfast in Pennsylvania schools we can take hunger out of the equation and set our students up for success in the classroom and beyond.”
The program will go into effect on October 1, 2022, and provide 1.7 million students with free breakfast through the end of the 2022-23 school year. The Universal Free School Breakfast Program is funded with $21.5 million in prior year funding from the School Food Services General Fund appropriation.
From March 2020 through the 2021-2022 school year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved waivers to afford universal free student breakfast and lunch to great success. Comparing the 2018-19 school year, when free breakfast was not universal, to 2021-22, when school was fully in-person and breakfast was universally free, breakfast consumption increased by nearly 16 percent.
Following the expiration of the waivers, Comitta and her Democratic colleagues on the Senate Education Committee signed a letter to Governor Tom Wolf asking the administration to take additional steps to continue providing free meals to students.
The letter also calls on the state legislature to act on legislation that would create a permanent, universal school meal program.
“While this is a great investment in moving us towards a hunger-free Pennsylvania, we need continued investment in free school meals for our students,” Comitta said. “I am extremely supportive of the Universal School Meal Program legislation introduced by Sen. Lindsey Williams which makes this important initiative permanent.”