Breakfast participation is up in Pennsylvania schools due to the state’s new universal free breakfast program.
The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced that over 23 million breakfasts have been served to students since the implementation of the program in October.
Along with seeing student breakfast participation increase overall, participation in the morning meal has doubled among students who would usually have to pay full-price, the department said.
Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro announced plans to extend the program, which is due to end in June.
Under his plan, $38.5 million in funding would be used to keep breakfast free for students through the 2023-2024 school year.
A recent report by the Food Research and Action Center 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.