Free breakfast program returns to district for another year

To support students, the district is continuing to provide free breakfasts this school year. This program started during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the free breakfast program is still in effect every morning, helping students and families in the Souderton Area School District.
According to food services supervisor Gwyneth Jones, the program was instituted by Pa. Governer Tom Wolf.
“The free breakfast program was changed by Governor Wolf,” Jones said. “That was statewide.”
The selection of food has not changed much, but new foods will be introduced.
According to cafeteria staff manager Pam Forester, oatmeal may be added.
“There is talk about putting hot oatmeal out,” Forester said.
According to Jones, one of the challenges was getting the word out, but once students knew, the turnout greatly increased.
“I think it’s going well. It’s always a challenge to get the word out,” Jones said.
The lunch staff said that they think they know the students’ wants and needs, and some of their preferences.
According to Jones, students like to have specific choices during breakfast. “Well, I know students like to have juice,” Jones said. “They like to have fruit juice every day.”
The breakfast program includes a simple order. According to Forester, it consists of one hot food item, one cold food item, a grain food and then accessories like yogurt and juices.
The effects of COVID-19 still negatively impact the program.
According to Jones, the staff commonly suffers from a lack of items like French toast sticks.
”We haven’t been able to get French toast sticks for over a year,” Jones said.
According to Jones, problems with supply chains include rising prices of food items like muffins.
“The cost of muffins is going up by 20% starting in January,” Jones said.
Jones said the free lunch program should be brought back to increase student participation in lunches.
“With a free status for all students, we had higher participation,” Jones said.
With the free breakfast program, students that have no money in their accounts can now get anything at breakfast.
According to Jones, the breakfasts will no longer drive accounts into negatives.
“Their account will no longer go into the negative because it’s free for everyone funded by the state,” Jones said.