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Children & Schools

Project Bread reaches out to one of our most vulnerable populations with thoughtfully researched and "kid-approved" programs that provide children with healthy food in the places they learn and grow. We're committed to building good eating habits from the start, and helping them to achieve their full potential.

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Your gift will connect more low-income students to school breakfast!

The Facts

For nearly 200,000 (or 1 in 7) children in Massachusetts, skipping a meal is not a choice: it is a very real part of their daily lives. Hungry children struggle to concentrate and learn. They are likely to have higher rates of absenteeism, get sick more frequently and recover more slowly. They are often at a disadvantage relative to their peers.

Kids count on summer meals

Last year, an average of 60,000 meals were served each day to kids across the state through the Summer Meals program.

Everything starts with school breakfast

Students who consistently start their day with a healthy meal had an average 17.5% increase in their standardized math scores over students who skip breakfast.

Children are among the most vulnerable to hunger

1 in 7 Massachusetts children is food insecure. This is approximately 187,290 children that don't reliably have enough food to eat.


Our Initiatives

Children at risk of hunger and food insecurity need consistent and predictable help they can rely on year-round. That is why Project Bread works to increase access and participation of low-income children in two key federal child nutrition programs —school breakfast and the summer meals program.

Believing that the opposite of hungry isn't just full, but healthy, our Chefs in Schools program works to not only improve the quality and nutritional value of school meals, it aims to empower and educate families and school kitchen staff to prepare nutritious and kid-tested meals on a school or limited family food budget.


School Breakfast

We work with school districts and partners across Massachusetts to ensure that every child starts the day with a healthy breakfast.

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Providing children with a healthy start to the day has benefits that extend far beyond the classroom. Children who eat breakfast are more likely to arrive on time to school, retain what they learn, behave better, and experience better health outcomes. For children living in food insecure homes, eating a healthy breakfast at home is often not possible. The National School Breakfast Program (NSBP) is a federally-funded program that helps bridge this gap for families, providing nutritious meals at low or no cost to low-income students at schools throughout the country.

Since 1994, Project Bread's Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) has worked with districts to increase participation in the School Breakfast Program in Massachusetts. CNOP provides technical assistance and innovative solutions to support schools to implement and expand breakfast programs. Through this work alongside school districts and other partners across the state, we strive to ensure that all children start the school day nourished and ready to learn. 

For communities seeking to expand their school breakfast program, resource are availble at www.meals4kids.org/breakfast.

Studies show that children who eat a good breakfast every day learn better.
Summer Food Service Program

With the help of our community partners and policy makers, we promote the Summer Food Service Program to ensure no child is left behind when school is out.

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For most kids, summer is a time to relax. But for children who rely on school meals, summer can feel like an endless struggle. With the help of our community partners and policy makers, we promote the Summer Food Service Program to help ensure that no child is hungry when school is out.

In 2017, nearly 60,000 students in Massachusetts enjoyed healthy meals at one of over 1,000 sites. And summer meal programs do more than just provide children with a healthy meal. They are also paired with enriching activities that keep kids active and safe: physical activity, arts, and educational lessons—giving them the boost in health and energy and the leg up they need as before returning to school in September.

Project Bread provides annual grants to support these programs statewide thanks to funding from Partners HealthCare Foundation and Share Our Strength.

For communities seeking to expand their summer meals programming, resources are availble at www.meals4kids.org/summermeals.

The best summer meal programs combine a healthy meal with activities such as physical activity, arts, and educational lessons.
Chefs in Schools

Our Chefs in Schools program helps school kitchen staff and parents learn to prepare healthy meals that children will eat.

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Our Chefs in Schools program brings chefs into school cafeteria kitchens to work with staff to create healthier meals—on a public school budget—that children will find tasty and visually appealing. The program works to increase low-income students' consumption of healthy foods; expose students to nutritious meals that taste good; and give school districts the tools they need to offer healthy, fresh meals every day. 

The program launched in Boston Public Schools in 2006. Since then, we have expanded the program to additional communities, with the ultimate goal of transforming the quality of school meals across Massachusetts. 

Through our Chefs in Schools Program, Project Bread has demonstrated that healthy food can be offered within the federal reimbursable meal budget that, when prepared in an appealing way, children will eat it. According to research done in collaboration with the Harvard School of Public Health, Chefs in Schools not only improves the overall nutritional quality of school meals, but also reduces food waste in schools. 

For school food service staff or parents and community members looking to make healthy changes to your school or districts breakfast and lunch programs, visit www.transformschoolfood.org for Chefs in Schools recipes and resources. 

Our Chefs in Schools program engages kids with delicious and healthy lunches.
School Meals Cookbook

Let’s Cook Healthy School Meals offers 100 tasty recipes that meet the new USDA school meal requirements and fall within the public reimbursement rate.

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Let's Cook Healthy School Meals is a first-of-its-kind tool to help school administrators and kitchen plan and prepare healthy meals for students that they will want to eat. It meets the 2012 USDA school meal requirements enacted through the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act—and offers 100 recipes that have been kid-tested in cafeteria kitchens.

In partnership with Chef Didi Emmons and the Chefs in Schools Program, Project Bread solicited recipes from school food professionals across Massachusetts, then tested and refined them to compile this valuable resource.

Download your copy of Let's Cook Healthy School Meals Cookbook.

Our school cookbook has 100 recipes meant to tempt children into eating their vegetables.
Chefs in Head Start

Chefs in Head Start introduces healthy foods to Head Start students.

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Chefs in Head Start reaches some of Massachusetts’ youngest residents—toddlers and pre-K children—and their families. The program introduces healthy foods to Head Start students through hands-on activities, stories, and tastings; teaches parents how to make familiar foods healthier on a limited budget; and trains kitchen staff how to make healthier and tastier food.  With support from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Project Bread has served over 600 children and families in Lynn, Oxford, Southbridge and Spencer.

Chef Vanessa’s fun, educational lessons with children introduce them to healthy foods and eating habits.

Making a Difference

Through diverse and strategic collaborations, we provide solutions in the places children go each day. We provide resources to help schools — and families — prepare nutritious, appealing food that kids truly want to eat. And together, we’re changing lives. 



Get Involved

Join us as we work to help children create good eating habits for a lifetime. We’re changing lives, with your support.