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Make a Commitment

Ideas Stakeholder Guides

Schools, PTAs, Parents of School-Age Children

Children spend more than six hours a day, on average, at school. You know firsthand that hungry kids have a hard time paying attention and learning during the school day. By advocating for better access to the nutrition that they need, you can make a difference in your school and community. Not only can you end childhood hunger for the children in your school, you can teach them about proper nutrition and healthy eating at the same time.

These are things you can start working on right away:

  • Make sure all children who are eligible participate in school meals—both breakfast and lunch. Help the school foodservice staff with applications and direct certification efforts. Only about one-third of students who eat a free or reduced-price school lunch also take advantage of a school breakfast. You can help with outreach and program planning by using the Expanding Your School Breakfast Program website as a guide.

  • Implement nutrition education lessons into the curriculum in your classroom, physical education lessons, and cafeteria. Breakfast in the classroom is a perfect opportunity to incorporate healthy foods into lessons. As we work to end childhood hunger, we must simultaneously work to improve children's eating habits and knowledge about healthy eating.

  • Encourage your school to participate in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). If 50 percent or more of the students in your district are eligible for free or reduced-price school meals, your school can continue to receive reimbursements for meals served during the summer months. For families whose children receive two meals a day during the school year, filling the summer meal gap at a safe and comfortable location puts parents' minds at ease and stretches their summer food budget. Find out more about the SFSP.

  • Join the HealthierUS School Challenge. The HealthierUS School Challenge recognizes schools that are creating healthier school environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity. Schools that meet special meal and physical activity criteria can win several categories of awards ranging from Bronze to Gold Award of Distinction. Find out more.

  • Promote and partner with other organizations that sponsor the SFSP or afterschool meals and snacks. Schools can help ensure that their students do not go hungry over the summer by promoting the afterschool and summer meal sites in the community.

  • Help children get nutrition benefits through other programs by sharing certification information with SFSP and Child and Adult Care Food Program sponsors. Students at your school or their siblings may be automatically eligible for other child nutrition programs. Schools can ease the burden that other sponsors have in determining children's eligibility for their programs by sharing the income eligibility information they have for the families of their students that participate in the National School Lunch Program.

  • Plant a school garden. School gardens can be used as an educational tool to teach children about producing healthy food and making healthy food choices. When children understand where their food comes from, they are more interested in trying new fruits and vegetables. Help students plant a fruit, vegetable or herb garden or develop partnerships with gardening groups. Get more information about starting a school garden.

Last Modified:02/22/2013