Tag Archives: LBJ

A History of Feeding America’s Children

CLIVE: We was all fired about about LBJ and it was spring time and we thought we was gonna go make a difference and we both signed up to hand out the free lunch.  For the summer, when there’s no school and kids go five, six hours no food cause they ain’t got much at home. Summertime came and they had me drive the van with the lunch and they had Gloria Giosa, once we pulled up to the pool or the playground, hand out the free lunch and we got to talking that summer and turns out we saw a lot more things eye to eye than we even thought—

The National School Lunch Act was passed in 1946 after congress determined that providing school age students with a nutritious meal was important enough to warrant securing federal funds every fiscal year. In addition to federal funds, the states are also required to contribute financially to the operation of the program.

 “The need for a permanent legislative basis for a school lunch program, rather than operating it on a year-to-year basis, or one dependent solely on agricultural surpluses that for a child may be nutritionally unbalanced or nutritionally unattractive, has now become apparent. The expansion of the program has been hampered by lack of basic legislation. If there is an assurance of continuity over a period of years, the encouragement of State contribution and participation in the school lunch program will be of great advantage in expanding the program.

“The national school lunch bill provides basic, comprehensive legislation for aid, in general, to the States in the operation of school lunch programs as permanent and- integral parts of their school systems…. Such aid, heretofore extended by Congress through the Department of Agriculture has, for the past 10 years, proven for exceptional benefit to the children, schools, and agriculture of the country a a whole, but the necessity for now coordinating the work throughout the Nation, and especially to encourage and increase the financial participation and active control by the several States makes it desirable that permanent enabling legislation take the place of the present temporary legislative structure…. The educational features of a properly chosen diet served at school should not be under-emphasized. Not only is the child taught what a good diet consists of, but his parents and family likewise are indirectly instructed.”

There are three types of lunches: Type A, Type B, and Type C. This is a graph that shows types A and B:

                  Type A Type B
Milk, whole 1/2 pint 2 pint
Protein-rich food consisting of any of the following or a combination thereof:

  • Fresh or processed meat, poultry meat,cheese, cooked or canned fish
  • Dry peas or beans or soy beans, cooked
  • Peanut Butter
  • Eggs
2 oz.½ cup

4 tbsp.

1

1 oz.¼ cup

2 tbsp.

1/2

Raw, cooked, or canned vegetables or fruits, or both ¾ cup ½ cup
Bread, muffins or hot bread made of whole grain cereal or enriched flour 1 portion 1 portion
Butter or fortified  margarine 2 tsp 1 tsp.

In 1966, the Child Nutrition Act was passed into law. This law included extending the Special Milk Program, starting the Pilot Breakfast Program, and centralizing all school food programs.  Read more here.

Guidelines for families who qualified for free or reduced lunch had to be established at the beginning of each fiscal year. As of July 1, 1970 the poverty threshold for a family of four was an income of $3,720 or less a year.

In 1968, an amendment to the Child Nutrition Act created the Summer Food Service Program. The SFSP is a federally funded program that provides free lunch for children who live in low-income areas when school is not in session.

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