School Breakfast Program
The School Breakfast Program provides federally subsidized breakfasts to children at schools and child care facilities in the United States. The program began as a 2 year pilot in 1966. The program was supposed to serve schools in poor neighborhoods and in areas where kids had to travel a long distance in order to make it to school. To get schools to participate Congress allowed for higher payments to schools that were defined as being in "severe need". In its first year, the SBP spent $573,000 serving about 80,000 children. In 1971 Congress modified the program, making it available to schools who needed to improve the nutrition and dietary needs of children in low income families and with working parents. They also changed the way funding was reimbursed, from categorical grant reimbursement to per-meal reimbursement. The SBP was permanently authorized in 1975 for all schools who needed to provide better nutrition for their students and for higher reimbursement of the school. Federal funding is provided in the form of cash reimbursements for each breakfast served, varied in amount by the family income of the participating child.  
All children in participating schools and residential institutions are eligible for a federally subsidized meal, regardless of family income. However, free meals must be offered to children from families with incomes below 130% of the federal poverty level, and reduced price meals to those with family incomes between 130% and 185% of the poverty level. Those families over the 185% poverty level have to pay full price for their meals which are set by the school. Even though the children have to pay for their own meals, the school is still reimbursed. The most current reimbursement rates for participating schools are $1.55 for each free breakfast, $1.25 for each reduced-price breakfast, and $0.27 for each paid breakfast. A school may receive a higher reimbursement rate for serving free or reduced-price meals to more than 40% of their students in the previous year. The higher rates can be as much as $0.30 more than standard rates. Schools in Hawaii and Alaska receive higher reimbursement rates than the schools in the contiguous United States. The percentage of meals being served at these higher rates is about 77%. These reimbursements are active from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013. The program is administered by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service and funded by annual agricultural appropriations. 
The USDA has to formulate their meal patterns and nutrition according to the Dietary Guidelines of Americans as directed by The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. There are plans in place for the SBP to gradually start changing their meals in 2013. Some of the changes include more whole grains, appropriate calorie counts according to grade, and lower sodium content. The sodium content must be reduced enough to meet standards, at the latest, by the 2022-2023 school year. 
As of 2010, the School Breakfast Program was the second largest of the targeted food aid programs administrated by the Food and Nutrition Service, feeding 16 million children. This compares with the School Lunch program, which helped feed 32 million children a day in 2010. 
Notes and references
- Jay Rayner (2012-08-01). "THE SCHOOL BREAKFAST PROGRAM". USDA. Retrieved 2013-04-20.
- Maria Cross, Barbara MacDonal (2009). William A Dando, ed. Nutrition in Institutions. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 89. ISBN 1405121254.
- Andrew Walter (2012). William A Dando, ed. Food and Famine in the 21st Century. ABC-CLIO. pp. 171–181. ISBN 1598847309.
- This article incorporates public domain material from the Congressional Research Service document "Report for Congress: Agriculture: A Glossary of Terms, Programs, and Laws, 2005 Edition" by Jasper Womach.
- School Breakfast Program at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service