Three Breakfast and Lunch Programs in Georgia

Lunch and breakfast programs in schools in Georgia provide children with health food options to fuel their school day. The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a country-wide initiative and is the oldest of the food programs. The federal government later established the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to provide qualified students with a nutritious morning meal. The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in Georgia offers continual meal services during academic recesses. The aim of these federal food programs in Georgia is to provide children from low-income families with food and nutritional services both during and outside of the school year. These meal programs are an advantage of public schools and private school that participate. Before applicants can determine which food service program they would like to apply for, they should understand a bit more regarding each program offered.

School Breakfast Program (SBP)

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is why the School Breakfast Program in Georgia is an honorable option for qualifying students. Most new petitioners wonder, “What is the SBP and how do I qualify?” The federal School Breakfast Program provides cash assistance to Georgia in order to operate a non-profit breakfast program inside the schools. This federally assisted meal program offers discounted or free morning meals to all approved students who meet the eligibility requirements of the program. In exchange for participating in the program, institutions will receive cash subsidies from the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) for every reimbursable meal served to an eligible student.

The free School Breakfast Program has requirements in terms of the types of food offered to eligible students. For instance, all school breakfasts served through breakfast programs in schools must meet the mandatory nutrition requirements. SBP regulations enforce the nutrition standards based on Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This means that all School Breakfast Program meals must meet the applicable recommendations before being served to students. However, the local school food authorities will make decisions regarding how a food for the SBP is prepared and served.

The types of breakfast service options for the free School Breakfast Program in Georgia vary depending on the school involved. While some school districts may choose to offer the tradition, cafeteria-style breakfast option, other schools can choose alternative breakfast models instead. For example, schools may choose to offer the free school breakfast in the classroom, which serves children a breakfast meal during their first class of the day or during attendance. Some schools may choose a faster option for free breakfast programs in school, such as a grab-and-go breakfast in a paper or plastic bag. Schools will be able to choose the School Breakfast Program option to their students that works best for their curriculum.

It is also worth noting that the School Breakfast Program in Georgia is not just offered in regular schools, but also offered within residential child care institutions. This means that eligible children who are not in a school system in Georgia but who are within a child care facility as recognized by the state can still receive free breakfasts as part of the program. For more information about the School Breakfast Program as well as what the application and eligibility requirements are, download our free guide today.

National School Lunch Program (NSLP)

What is the NSLP? The National School Lunch Program in Georgia is a federal program enacted to help children who are unable to pay full price for lunch served in schools. The NSLP provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost and sometimes free lunches to children at school every day. When NSLP started in 1946, it was under the guidance of President Harry Truman and initially called the National School Lunch Act. Today, millions of eligible students are able to receive a healthy and balanced lunch for a reduced price or free. In reference to cost, parents and caretakers will discover what to expect when enrolling a child in a Georgia school meal program.

Federal lunch programs for schools are geared toward making sure that no child is left hungry. NSLP is designed to provide proper fuel and energy at a basic level, so that children can flourish within their schooling. Research has shown that students with an empty stomach are not fully able to participate in learning, which is why the National School Lunch Program is so important. The types of establishments that can participate in the National School Lunch Program include non-profit private schools of high school grade or below, residential child care institutions and charter schools. These participating school districts or institutions receive a cash subsidy for every meal served that count as being reimbursable.

There are specific NSLP regulations in place, which enforce the nutrition guidelines for each meal. A nutrition coordinator at the central office plans the school lunch menus for the NSLP. Each meal offered within the School Lunch Program must meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which recommends that no more than 30 percent of a person’s caloric intake come from fat while less than 10 percent should come from saturated fat. It is also enforced for the NSLP that one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowances of protein, calcium, calories, iron, Vitamin C and Vitamin A are provided in a standard school lunch. These NSLP regulations can provide peace of mind for parents learning how to apply for school meals.

Summer Food Service Program (SFSP )

What is the Summer Food Service Program in Georgia? The free summer lunch program is offered to low-income children in order for them to continue to receive nutritionally balanced meal even when school is not in session. Through the federal Summer Lunch Program, the USDA plans to service over 200 million meals. Eligible students 18 years of age and younger can have access to healthy food options in the summer to ensure children do not go hungry outside of the school year. This federal summer lunch program is a critical resource for students who no longer have the School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program available to them because school is out of session. The summer lunch program is aimed to fill the gap between the end of the school year and the beginning of a new year, so that students can continue to receive the well-balanced meals they were receiving during the year. Learning, growth and playing does not stop at the end of a school year, which is why the free lunch program during the summer is crucial. For the applicants wondering, “How can I participate in SFSP and where are services located?” most Georgia school provide information about SFSP towards the end of the academic year.

To find out more regarding the school and summer meal programs including how free and discounted meals are determined, download our comprehensive guide.