The School Breakfast Program is a federally assisted meal program that provides states with cash assistance in providing free and reduced-cost breakfasts to eligible schoolchildren nationwide. The program is operated in more than 89,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential child care facilities.
Any child at a participating school who meets income eligibility requirements can purchase a meal through the program. Children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals. Those with household incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced-price meals, which will not cost the child more than 30 cents. For the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016, 130 percent of the poverty level is $31,525 for a family of four; 185 percent is $44,863.
School breakfasts must meet the applicable recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which recommend that no more than 30 percent of an individual's calories come from fat, and less than 10 percent from saturated fat. In addition, breakfasts must provide one-fourth of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for protein, calcium, iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and calories. The decisions about what specific food to serve and how they are prepared are made by local school food authorities.