The BreakfastFirst Campaign in California

girl eating cereal Background

The BreakfastFirst Campaign is a three year initiative to help California’s students reach their full potential and California’s schools maximize available federal resources by strengthening school breakfast programs. The campaign identified three goals for completion within the first three years:

  • “All California schools will offer the School Breakfast Program.”
  • “All California schools will adopt after-the-bell breakfast models or other practices that maximize participation.”
  • “All school breakfasts will appeal to students and promote optimal health.”

The campaign aims to ensure that all students are served optimally nutritious breakfasts by encouraging participation in programs such as Classroom Breakfast and Second Chance Breakfast. These models are known to dramatically increase participation in school breakfast programs, bringing the benefits of school breakfast to the maximum number of students.

Breakfast & the Bottom Line

The BreakfastFirst Campaign in California logoThere are fiscal benefits to operating an effective school breakfast program.  School districts that maximize school breakfast participation, decrease absenteeism, and reduce tardiness. With effective breakfast models schools can:

  • “Improve average daily attendance and increase related funding.”
  • “Maximize state and federal meal reimbursements.”
  • “Increase “indirect cost” allocations to the district’s general fund.”

The BreakfastFirst website provides information about the campaign as well as tools and resources to help schools and individuals learn about the fiscal, nutritional and academic performance benefits of of providing and getting kids to eat a balanced breakfast. 


Katherine Baildon and Sarina Kumar, Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs


Breakfast First. About Breakfast First.

Breakfast First. Benefits for your school.

Edwards, Nicola.(2013) Congratulations to Los Angeles Unified! California Food Policy Advocates.

Edwards, Nicola. (2013) Unanimous Vote in Support of Breakfast in the Classroom California Food Policy Advocates