School Breakfast Program participation posted its largest increase in 2008-09 since at least 1991, according to a report by the Food Research & Action Center. FRAC’s School Breakfast Scorecard 2009 shows an increase of about 520,000 more low income children participating in school breakfast programs compared to 2007-08, a 6.2% bump, which is the largest since the group began tracking participation in 1991.
FRAC attributes the increase primarily to hard economic times that have pushed more children to be eligible for free and reduced school meals. The group notes that school lunch participation also saw a record increase over the same period, but breakfast participation increased more rapidly, increasing the ratio of free/reduced breakfast participation to free/reduced lunch participation from 46.1 to 46.7 breakfasts for every 100 lunch meals served. Among individual states, New Mexico and South Carolina topped the breakfast-to-lunch participation ratio list while Utah and Illinois were at the bottom. For the full report, go here.