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The Black Panther Party Started The First Free Breakfast Program For School Children In America




This free breakfast for school children program was set up in Berkeley 1968 by Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. It was the first significant community program organised by the Panthers, and perhaps the most significant.

After a few months spreading to churches, community centers and auditoriums in Berkeley, San Francisco and Oakland, it was announced that the program would be set up across the US.

The Breakfast Program has already been initiated in several chapters, and our love for the masses makes us realize that it must continue permanently and be a national program. But we need your help and that means money, food, and time. We want to turn the programs over to the community, but without your efforts and support we cannot.“
- The Black Panther, 19692


Serving Broadly
By the end of 1969 free breakfast was served in 19 cities, under the sponsorship of the national headquarters and twenty-three local affiliates. More than 20.000 children received full free breakfast (bread, bacon, eggs, grits) before going to their grade or junior high school.3 While programs operated in predominantly black neighborhoods, the program also fed children of other groups, even operating in a partly middle-class neighborhoods in Seattle. It was also used to raise public consciousness about hunger and poverty in America, and the importance of nutrition for learning.


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