PA Department of Education Announces School Breakfast Cafeteria Upgrade Grant Recipients

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) announced more than $925,000 in competitive grants have been awarded to 72 elementary, middle and high schools across the state for the purchase of new food service equipment for cafeterias. Funding for the grants is made available through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is awarded to schools which participate in the National School Lunch Program and have 50 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Schools often use the grants to purchase new refrigerators, freezers, stoves and dishwashers.

Proposed changes from the Trump Administration could impact many Pennsylvania families’ ability to participate in the programs. Under a Trump Administration proposal to cut Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, more than 22,000 Pennsylvania households with school-age children would no longer qualify for SNAP, and therefore school-age children would no longer be directly certified for free and reduced meals.

Some grant programs, including the food service equipment program, require a school to meet a specific free and reduced lunch eligibility threshold in order to qualify for grant funding. For the equipment grant program, highest priority is given to schools that have at least 50 percent of students eligible for free and reduced lunch. Therefore, any reduction in direct certification through SNAP could impact a school’s eligibility for this grant.

“Students perform better in school when they have access to regular, nutritious meals,” said Secretary of Education Pedro A. Rivera. “These grants will help schools upgrade equipment so they can continue to provide the essential meals that students need.”

Click here to access a list of schools receiving food service equipment grants.

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