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.
For more than 232,000 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.
Last year, an average of 60,000 meals were served each day to kids across the state through the Summer Meals program.
More than 400,000 students in Massachusetts rely on school meals for half of their daily nutrients.
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 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.
We work with school districts and partners across Massachusetts to ensure that every child starts the day with a healthy breakfast.
For nearly 20 years, Project Bread's Child Nutrition Outreach Program has partnered with the MA Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to advocate for more than $2 million annually for Universal Free Breakfast programs in the poorest elementary schools—a non-stigmatizing way to help kids access the nutrients and calories they need to learn and grow. As Share Our Strength’s 2013 No Kid Hungry Ally in Massachusetts, we also bring together chefs and school food experts to create menus for healthier breakfasts that are served in the classroom.
The best way to increase breakfast participation is by making a breakfast model change that incorporates breakfast into the school day, such as Breakfast in the Classroom (BIC). To help make moving breakfast out of the cafeteria easier, Project Bread created a two-week cycle menu featuring very healthy and affordable options for both traditional and alternative breakfast models. Click here to download your copy of Let’s Prepare Healthy School Breakfast!
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.
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 2013, over 50,000 students in Massachusetts enjoyed healthy meals at one of nearly 900 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 nearly $100,000 in annual grants to support these programs statewide thanks to funding from Our Family Foundation, Partners HealthCare and Share Our Strength.
Our Chefs in Schools program helps school kitchen staff and parents learn to prepare healthy meals that children will eat.
Chefs in Schools began as a pilot project in three Boston public schools: we brought chefs into cafeteria kitchens to work with staff to create healthier meals—on a public school budget—that children would find tasty and visually appealing. It worked. We’ve since expanded to Chelsea, Lawrence, and Salem with leadership support from the Arbella Insurance Foundation and additional support from the Trefler Foundation and the Jessie B. Cox CLT - Cox Family Fund. And we partner with Harvard School of Public Health to measure the ongoing efficacy of this important program. Read the published results of the successful intervention in Boston.
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.
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 new 2012 USDA school meal requirements—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.
Chefs in Head Start introduces healthy foods to Head Start students.
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.
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.
Read Project Bread Executive Director Ellen Parker and Board Chair Dr. Ronald E. Kleinman's op-ed published in The Boston Globe on Monday, May 22, "Children have a right to healthy food at school."
A new study co-funded by Project Bread shows that schools collaborating with a professionally trained chef to improve the nutrition and taste of school lunches significantly increased students’ fruit and vegetable consumption.
Chef Vanessa's kale pesto is nut free, cost effective, and delicious!
(BOSTON– July 13, 2016) Each day this summer more than 60,000 children will enjoy a free healthy breakfast, lunch, snack or dinner at one or more of the 1000 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sites operating across Massachusetts. The SFSP is a federally funded, state administered and locally operated nutrition program that provides meals at no cost to youth ages 18 and under when school is not in session.
Worcester, MA – July 21, 2017 – Congressman Jim McGovern led his 4th Annual Summer Food Rocks Tour throughout the 2nd Congressional District this past Friday to raise awareness about the USDA’s Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The Summer Food Service Program is a federally-funded nutrition program that provides free meals to children ages 18 and under when school is not in session. In Massachusetts, the program is administered by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (ESE) with support from the Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP) at Project Bread.
Working in partnership with Project Bread and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's Child Nutrition Outreach Program (CNOP), Partners is awarding $35,000 to help support the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in communities throughout Massachusetts.
Join us as we work to help children create good eating habits for a lifetime. We’re changing lives, with your support.
Learn how you can get involved with Project Bread's mission and help change lives.
Hunger is silent. So we speak up–join the annual movement to end hunger in Massachusetts, always the first Sunday in May. Money raised by participants supports more than 300 anti-hunger programs that connect people to the healthy food they deserve.
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