Universal Free Breakfast Helps School-Aged Children Succeed 

Each day, families struggle with food security and the ability to provide their children with healthy meals that fuel their minds and bodies. Lack of nutrient-rich food impacts child development, overall health outcomes, mental and behavioral health and academic achievement, performance, and participation. Free school breakfast has been one initiative provided to Pennsylvania school-aged children to combat child hunger and ensure students succeed.

For the first time, all Pennsylvania public school students heading back to school this month will be eligible to receive a free breakfast regardless of income. The 2023-24 budget includes a $46.5 million increase to provide universal free breakfast to Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million public school students.

Our fact sheet shows the benefits of free school breakfast, including:

  • Increasing access to nutritious meals and building healthy eating habits.
  • Improving academic performance, including concentration, memory, comprehension, and learning, while reducing hunger-related behavioral problems.
  • Reducing the stigma associated with students who access free or reduced meals compared to their peers.

The state budget also expands free lunch to 22,000 eligible students for reduced-price lunch. While universal free breakfast and expanded free lunch are a great first step for Pennsylvania students, PPC advocates for expanding free lunch to all students because no child should go hungry, and no parent should worry about feeding their child.