Governor Tom Wolf announces universal free breakfast program for PA students

Hershey High School will be providing free breakfasts for all students due to a state mandated program in Pennsylvania.

Governor Wolf announced his $21.5 million dollar plan that will run-through the 2022-23 school year. This money will be funded by the 2021 School Food Services General Fund Appropriation.

About 1.7 million school children are able to benefit and participate in this universal free school breakfast program. This includes students enrolled in public schools, intermediate units, charter schools, career and technology schools, and child care institutions.

The Derry Township food staff are planning to expand the menu options from previous years. Aside from the regular options, the school is hoping to add all new hot items and smoothies as well. 

“I think we’ll see a slight increase (in students eating breakfast),” said Gergory Hummel, director of food services, when asked why the state was pushing out this program to students. 

Hummel is hoping students will be more energetic and fueled throughout the school day. ultimately leading to better education. 

In Pennsylvania, officials say breakfast consumption under the free meals program increased by 16%, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, we are hoping it will encourage students to get breakfast,” Hummel added.“We are fortunate we had last year as a guide for free meals and can use that as a reference.” 

During the pandemic there were many struggles in the food department in DTSD, but due to those challenges they have been able to learn and grow from what they were before. 

In the future, they hope to expand their options and possibly make meals free for the whole school district. 

Sophomore Tayen Parke is grabbing free breakfast at the cafeteria. The universal breakfast program started on October 1st, which allowed students of all grades to get free breakfast. (Broadcaster/ Isabella Dimopoulos)
Hershey high school students Tayen Parke (right) and Tessa Reese (left) are eating lunch in the cafeteria. DTSD food services has been trying to get out free lunches to students as well. (Broadcaster/ Mythili Pai)
Josh H. (left) and Casey H. (right) are apart of the Ηershey High School cafeteria staff serving the daily special to students. Last year, Hershey High did not have a daily special meal at lunch due to COVID-19. (Broadcaster/ Isabella Dimopoulos)