The FRAC released its newest report, The Reach of Breakfast and Lunch: A Look at Pandemic
and Pre-Pandemic Participation. This latest report highlights the efforts of locals schools and
administrators to make meals available to children throughout the pandemic, as well as the
successes of the nationwide school nutrition waivers that were signed by the Food and Drug
Administration that allow flexibility and creativity in addressing the needs and barriers.
However, the report finds that nearly 14 million children received breakfast and 19.8 million
children received lunch on an average school day during the 2020–2021 school year, a decrease
of 692,000 children and 8.8 million children, respectively, compared to breakfast and lunch
participation rates in the 2018–2019 school year — the last full school year prior to the
pandemic. These trends were consistent across nearly all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
FRAC suggests in this report that schools must take this opportunity to make permanent the
increased access to meals, taking measures such as moving breakfast out of the cafeteria and
ensuring that children have adequate time to eat lunch. More broadly, they call on policymakers
to make schools meals available to all children at no cost through the Universal School Meals
Program Act of 2021, thus helping to address child hunger and removing financial burdens from