Free breakfast to continue after pandemic

Veronica Langrehr, Editor

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has recently announced that starting Oct. 1, 2022 private and public schools in PA will receive state funding for universal breakfast at school. This could benefit up to 1.7 million children since everyone, regardless of financial status, will qualify to get breakfast for free every morning. 

This program is a continuation from the “pandemic program” which was federally funded for students to receive free school meals to ease financial stress caused by COVID-19. 

“It is completely unacceptable for a child to start the day hungry,” Wolf said in a press release. 

The program will cost the state $21.5 million, funds coming from School Food Services General Fund appropriation, and will run through the 2022-2023 school year. It was reinstated after research found that breakfast consumption increased 16 percent when it was free, so more children were being fed a nutritious meal before their academics. 

CYHS offers an assortment of options for breakfast in the morning, giving students a variety to choose from. The cafeteria staff outlined over 20 items that may be offered for breakfast including muffins, cereal, bagels and breakfast sandwiches. A gluten-free menu option is also available and students can pick up a fruit or fruit juice with their meal. For the free breakfast to count as a reimbursable meal the student must pick up three out of five components and take half a cup of fruit or vegetable.

“I think it’s a really good idea that school breakfast is free now because nobody has to worry about if they have enough money to eat,” said senior Alison Raab. 

Compared to the beginning of the year, when students had to pay, a significant increase in the amount of people flowing through the cafeteria in the morning is noticeable. 

“I see this in the morning when I’m walking to CLC, it is much more crowded than before when we had to pay,” added Raab.

However, the disadvantage with a sudden spike in morning is the cafeteria is understaffed so staff works harder to get every student through the line. 

“Since everyone gets off the bus at the same time, the cafeteria gets extremely crowded,

with students,” said food service director, Emily Stump.

Students are allowed to sit in the cafeteria and talk with their peers while having breakfast or take it back to their CLC. (Photo by Veronica Langrehr. )