N.S.L.P. Time Line


The Children's Aid Society of New York


This group initiated a program of serving meals to students attending vocational schools. This trend did not catch on to other organizations or municipalities to do likewise.

The Starr Center Association


This association in Philadelphia started serving lunches for a penny in just one school, later expanding to another. Soon it established a committee within the Home and School League and lunches were served to nine schools in the city.



A book by Robert Hunter sparked the influence in the United States' effort to feed the hungry, needy children attending school.

Dr. William H. Maxwell


Dr. William H. Maxwell, the superintendent of schools in New York, made a plea to the Board of Education requesting that the students may have "simple wholesome food" at cost. This plea was due to the malnourished children and their lack of ability to do school work.



In Cleveland the first lunchroom was installed in 1909. There were seven schools to receive a lunchroom. Prior to this "lunch wagons" would arrive at the schools or near the schools to deliver the hot meals to the students.

Experiemental Program

January 1910

In Boston, an experimental program was developed where three days a week a Home Economics class prepared elementary classes a mid-morning lunch. The other two days the students would eat sandwiches and have milk. All meals would be eaten at their desks because there was no lunchroom in the building.

Department of High School Lunches

1912 - May 1915

The School Board of the William Penn High School for Girls in Philadelphia established and directed that food services be in all of the high schools in the city. This system was feeding the Home and School League until it was reported success was not possible outside the school system.

Federal Aid

1932 - 1934

The ability to feed the hungry, needy children became a task that required assistance. The earliest Federal aid came from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation in 1932 and 1933. Other such assistance was expanded to other areas in 1933 and 1934 under the operations of Civil Works Administration and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, assisting 39 states and the employment of 7,442 women!

Lunch operations


By 1937, 17 states had passed laws to authorize school boards to operate lunchrooms. Most states serving the food at cost.


June 4, 1940

Federal assistance started providing fluid milk for students in school lunches. Only a few elementary schools started with this program, approximately 13,256 students.

National School Lunch Act


Congress recognized the need and passed the Act, providing basic lunch programs for school operations.

National School Lunch Act Amended


This amended the amount proportioned to Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands.

Special Food Assistance to Needy Schools

1961 - 1962

The special commodity assistance program operated in 270 needy schools throughout 22 states, serving approximately 25,000 students, this form would provide free or reduced lunch for students.

National School Lunch Week

October 9, 1962

A week long celebration of a Joint Resolution of Congress. It is celebrated by ceremonies and activities.

Pilot Breakfast Program

1966 - June 30, 1968

Breakfasts, that met the nutritional standards of the Secretary of Agriculture, were served either free of charge or at a reduced rate for students unable to pay full price.

Child Nutrition Act of 1966


Relationship between food and good nutrition under the school lunch program.

National Nutrition Status

April 1968

In April 1968, the Citizens' Board of Inquiry into Hunger and Malnutrition in the United States announced in a book, Hunger USA, its findings of a nation-wide study. They estimated about ten million people suffering from hunger and malnutrition, and 280 countries in the US were "hunger countries".

Action by the President


There was a problem. The President wanted to put an end to hunger in America for all time. It was expanded that every school child has a lunch available to him/her and every needy child will be provided a lunch at free or reduced price.

Nutrition, Behavior, and Learning


A letter received stated from Wisconsin the program was the finest ever seen, attendance had gone up, students had increased their weight, and better home-school relationships.



It was estimated by 1981, there were 64,5000 cafeterias open and operating throughout the United States serving students.