Success! Washington, DC to Fully Fund School Breakfast

Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but some parents don’t have enough money or time to fix a healthy breakfast every day for their youngsters.

That’s when it becomes the responsibility of schools to provide a morning meal. 

In 2010, the Healthy Schools Act instituted free breakfast for public school students across the District of Columbia. Schools where more than 40 percent of the students quality for free or reduced-price lunch were required to offer breakfast in the classroom or on “grab-and-go” carts.

An amendment to this act was passed by the D.C. Council last year, adding an annual $2 subsidy for each student for alternative delivery — as well as an extra 10 percent reimbursement every time a school breakfast is served — for a total of around $3 million.

But by April, 2019, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Council still hadn’t included the extra money required by this amendment into the budget.

That made Pumpkin Dicks understandably upset. Dicks, a grandmother and primary caregiver of a fifth grader in D.C. public schools, saw that Mayor Bowser was not stepping up to the plate for students. She decided to create a Care2 petition asking the Council to prioritize their children’s health by fully funding the Healthy Students Amendment Act.

As Dicks explained in her petition:

Healthy school breakfasts have been linked to higher test scores, improved concentration, alertness and memory. Breakfast is critical to our children’s health and their education, and we must prioritize it.


The petition garnered more than 33,000 signatures over three months — and, as a result, D.C.’s final budget now includes full funding for school breakfasts.

As Dicks wrote on her petition: “We are so excited that the DC City Council decided to stand up for children’s health and education by fully funding school breakfast.”

Congratulations to Dicks and to all the Care2 activists who signed on to her petition. 

This is a wonderful example of many organizations contributing to a success. Dicks originally was working with Friends of the Earth and brought her petition to a D.C. School Food Advisory Board meeting. 

Chloe Waterman, a food campaigner with Friends of the Earth, tells Care2:

I told Pumpkin about Care2 because I had partnered on a successful petition with Care2 a couple years ago. We were excited and grateful that Care2 helped us promote our petition to over 33,000!

Waterman also explains that the Care2 petition was instrumental in showing D.C. Council members how many D.C. residents care deeply about students getting healthy and sustainable school meals. 

The coalition also included D.C. Hunger Solutions, DC Greens, DC Central Kitchen, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine and members of the Good Food Purchasing Program Coalition.

Well done to everyone!

As Nick E., from the District of Columbia, wrote on the petition:

Used to be a public school teacher, at a school where kids received free breakfast and it 100% changed/improved each child’s mood and performance.

Makes sense, right?

Congratulations again to Pumpkin Dicks! She was clearly determined to make a difference with her petition, and you can do that too. If you have an issue that concerns you deeply, why not create your own petition? Check out these guidelines and soon the Care2 community will be signing up to support you.


Photo Credit: Getty Images


Magdalen B
Magdalen Byesterday

Well done!

Kay B
Kay B2 days ago

This leaves only one meal a day for families to eat together. For those that can't afford it I think financial help to enable them to have more family meals together would better serve the children. There has even been research that has shown physical, mental, and emotional benefits such as a lower risk of developing eating disorders, obesity, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse as well as raising self esteem and academic performance in kids who regularly share family meals.

William T
William T3 days ago

Thank you for sharing

Elaine W
Elaine W4 days ago

Now every one follow this good example of common decency in America.

Judith H
Judith Hannah6 days ago


Jeramie D
Jeramie D6 days ago

For some children, this may be the only meal the get. Thank you.

BobbyKat L
BobbyKat L6 days ago


Alea C
Alea C8 days ago

I miss my daily causes newsletter. I wish Care2 would fix their site and start posting new ones.

Alea C
Alea C8 days ago


Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D8 days ago

This is great news!! I'm sure it's peace of mind for those who cannot make ends meet. No child should ever go hungry. I just hope it's both Non GMO and healthy!! Congrats for the proper decision DC!!!