Last year, with a previous grant from the Walmart Foundation, AASA piloted the program in four school districts in New York, Ohio, and California. This new $2.5 million grant will expand the program to an additional six urban districts.
“We know that more than 19 million American children qualify to receive free or reduced-price lunch at school, but less than half of them get breakfast at school—even though programs exist to feed them,” said AASA executive director Daniel A. Domenech in announcing the grant.
The purpose of the Walmart Foundation/AASA breakfast initiative is to significantly increase the participation of needy children in the already existing federal school breakfast programs. In this past year the Walmart Foundation/AASA initiative created broad awareness and support among school district and community leaders in the pilot communities for the programs. The superintendents and food service directors from these initial pilot programs will serve as mentors to the new districts. Studies have shown that children are not participating in breakfast programs for a number of reasons—because their school does not provide the program, their parents do not have sufficient information about the program or understand that they are eligible to participate, or transportation to get the child to school in time for breakfast is not available.