Pennsylvania launches inaugural school breakfast challenge

The state is using the initiative as a way to increase school breakfast participation.
A student grabs a piece of fruit
The challenge encourages schools to promote their breakfast programs through several different ways to increase participation. | Photo: Shutterstock

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) is hosting an inaugural school breakfast challenge in an attempt to increase school breakfast participation throughout the state. 

The three-month long program challenges schools to increase their breakfast participation through a number of initiatives.  

As part of the program, schools must follow a list of criteria which include serving local food items for breakfast, promoting their breakfast program using a toolkit offered by the state and more. 

At the end of the challenge, schools with the highest breakfast participation will be recognized for their efforts. 

Pennsylvania has been providing universal free breakfast at school to all students in the state since 2022

Since introducing free school breakfast for all, participation in the morning meal has increased, according to the PDE, especially among students who would have had to pay full-price. 

A report by the Food Research and Action Center also found that breakfast participation rates were up in schools nationwide during the 2021-2022 school year. The report’s authors note this is likely due to students returning to in-person class and the availability of universal free meals through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s pandemic-era waivers



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