The Total Child

AASA’s Alternative School Breakfast Initiative Turns 5!

(Alternative School Breakfast) Permanent link

It’s hard to believe how fast time goes! AASA’s partnership with the Walmart Foundation is 5 years old this month.

In June 2011, we started down the path of working with school districts to increase breakfast participation by serving breakfast in alternative ways. We’ve granted 611 schools in 28 districts in 15 states, reaching over 452,000 students! This has filled a lot of hungry bellies, ensuring that students are ready to learn first thing in the morning.

In working in that many districts, schools, and with that number of students, we’ve learned many lessons along the way.

  • Breakfast in the Classroom isn’t as scary as it sounds when the idea is first presented. In many districts, students are responsible for distributing the breakfast to each classroom, and take clean-up very seriously. There are far fewer spills than the adults anticipate.


  •  It’s not always easy to get a middle or high-school student to eat school breakfast in the morning. One way our grantee districts have been successful is to use vending machines. Teenagers all across the country are using vending machines made specifically to vend out a reimburseable breakfast.


  •  Changing how breakfast is served shouldn’t be seen as only a food service initiative. There are some things that just can’t be accomplished without the superintendent’s leadership, as well as input from other key stakeholders. We require our grantees to have a School Breakfast Team, which includes the superintendent, and should meet on a regular basis. Some districts have connected their district-level school health team with the breakfast team for efficiency. 

We are so grateful to the many superintendents, food service directors, anti-hunger advocates, Dairy Council representatives, consultants and past AASA staff members who have worked and continue to work alongside those of us at AASA to increase breakfast participation nationwide. And of course, none of this work could be done without the support of the Walmart Foundation.

Happy birthday to AASA’s school breakfast initiative!
For more information and resources on alternative school breakfast, go to