The online tool for teaching with documents, from the National Archives

The School Lunch Program and the Federal Government

Making Connections

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

School Lunch is an important part of the school day! Close your eyes and think about lunch in your school.

What do you hear and smell? What is the typical price of a school lunch? Why are the prices of food and drink lower at the school cafeteria than in a restaurant? Does the federal government play a role in your local school lunch program?

To find the answers, analyze the documents in the activity and respond to the questions in the text boxes.


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

The School Lunch Program and the Federal Government

Making Connections

Examine the documents and text included in this activity. Fill in any blanks in the sequence with your thoughts and write your conclusion response in the space provided.

Analyze the first three photographs. How are they connected? How can increased food production contribute to farm foreclosures? What event in United States History does the event in the third photograph reflect? Why is it ironic that farmers were able to grow more food, but there were farm foreclosures and people in cities who were starving?

Hybrid Corn Crossing Plot


Farm foreclosure sale in Iowa


Depression: Breadlines:long line of people waiting to be fed: New York City: in the absence of substantial government relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some


Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected president in the midst of the Great Depression. He realized changes had to happen immediately to assist the American people.

Analyze the next three documents. Read carefully pages 5 and 6 of F.D.R.'s Fireside Chat on the purposes and foundations for the National Recovery Act, looking specifically at the information related to farmers in the United States. Analyze the the two photographs in the group.

Based on your findings, what are possible solutions to the overproduction of crops?

Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program


Shelby County, Iowa. Corn sealed in farm granaries under the Ever-Normal granary plan


Surplus Commodities Program


Examine the next three documents. Who were the recipients of surplus agricultural products?

"Your community can sponsor a school lunch program for its children" Make America Strong set. Poster number 10.


"Every child Needs a Good School Lunch"


Surplus Commodities: School Lunch Program


The Federal Surplus Commodities Corporation purchased surplus commoditieis such as pork, dairy products, and wheat and made them available to schoolchildren who could not afford to pay for lunches and needed nutritional food. By 1942, the peak year, more than 5 million children participated in the school lunch program. The legislation for the school lunch program was not permanent.

Analyze the next two documents.

What happened to the School Lunch program?

Letter from Mrs. Morton Livingston to Senator Claude Pepper Regarding the School Lunch Program


School Lunch Recipes for 100


Examine the last two documents.

Does the school lunch program still exist?

How has it changed? How has it stayed the same?

How did increased agricultural production and the Great Depression contribute to the School Lunch program?

Senate Democrats Dine on School Lunch


Quantity Recipes for School Food Service





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Activity Element

Hybrid Corn Crossing Plot

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2

Activity Element

Farm foreclosure sale in Iowa

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3

Activity Element

Depression: Breadlines:long line of people waiting to be fed: New York City: in the absence of substantial government relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some

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4

Activity Element

Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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5

Activity Element

Shelby County, Iowa. Corn sealed in farm granaries under the Ever-Normal granary plan

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6

Activity Element

Surplus Commodities Program

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7

Activity Element

"Your community can sponsor a school lunch program for its children" Make America Strong set. Poster number 10.

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8

Activity Element

"Every child Needs a Good School Lunch"

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9

Activity Element

Surplus Commodities: School Lunch Program

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10

Activity Element

Letter from Mrs. Morton Livingston to Senator Claude Pepper Regarding the School Lunch Program

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11

Activity Element

School Lunch Recipes for 100

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12

Activity Element

Senate Democrats Dine on School Lunch

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13

Activity Element

Quantity Recipes for School Food Service

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Conclusion

The School Lunch Program and the Federal Government

Making Connections

In the response section below, explain the following questions.
  • How and why the federal school lunch program started?
  • When did the school lunch program become a permanent part of federal programs?

Surplus agricultural commodities are the mainstay of the school lunch program. These commodities often include dairy products, pork, and wheat--products that tend to be high in both calories and fat content.
  • Why is that a problem in the diet of many students today?
  • What legislation was passed by Congress in 2010 to address this issue?


Your Response




Document

Hybrid Corn Crossing Plot

ca. 1932

Hybrid corn, considered by many to be one of the most important discoveries in the history of farming, was cultivated and tested at experiment stations like this one in Iowa, ca.1932. The dense green rows of identical stalks of corn in demonstration fields won over many a dubious farmer.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture.
National Archives Identifier: 5709998
Full Citation: Hybrid Corn Crossing Plot; ca. 1932; Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/hybrid-corn-crossing-plot, September 16, 2019]


Hybrid Corn Crossing Plot

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Document

Farm foreclosure sale in Iowa

ca. 1933

This primary source comes from the Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs.
National Archives Identifier: 196314
Full Citation: Farm foreclosure sale in Iowa; ca. 1933; Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/farm-foreclosure-sale-in-iowa, September 16, 2019]


Farm foreclosure sale in Iowa

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Document

Depression: Breadlines:long line of people waiting to be fed: New York City: in the absence of substantial government relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some

ca. 2/1932

This primary source comes from the Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs.
National Archives Identifier: 196506
Full Citation: Depression: Breadlines:long line of people waiting to be fed: New York City: in the absence of substantial government relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some ; ca. 2/1932; Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/depression-breadlineslong-line-of-people-waiting-to-be-fed-new-york-city-in-the-absence-of-substantial-government-relief-programs-during-1932-free-food-was-distributed-with-private-funds-in-some-urban, September 16, 2019]


Depression: Breadlines:long line of people waiting to be fed: New York City: in the absence of substantial government relief programs during 1932, free food was distributed with private funds in some

Page 1



Document

Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

7/24/1933

This primary source comes from the Collection FDR-PPF: Papers as President, President's Personal File.
National Archives Identifier: 197304
Full Citation: Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program; 7/24/1933; Collection FDR-PPF: Papers as President, President's Personal File, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/fireside-chat-on-the-purposes-and-foundations-of-the-recovery-program, September 16, 2019]


Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

Page 8



Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

Page 10



Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Fireside Chat on the Purposes and Foundations of the Recovery Program

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Document

Shelby County, Iowa. Corn sealed in farm granaries under the Ever-Normal granary plan

5/2/1941 - 5/7/1941

The practice of storing surplus grain to keep prices stable or “ever-normal” dates to biblical times. In 1938, the AAA began to make loans to farmers, enabling them to stockpile grain until the market rebounded.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics.
National Archives Identifier: 522348
Full Citation: Shelby County, Iowa. Corn sealed in farm granaries under the Ever-Normal granary plan; 5/2/1941 - 5/7/1941; Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/shelby-county-iowa-corn-sealed-in-farm-granaries-under-the-evernormal-granary-plan, September 16, 2019]


Shelby County, Iowa. Corn sealed in farm granaries under the Ever-Normal granary plan

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Document

Surplus Commodities Program

ca. 1936

This primary source comes from the Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs.
National Archives Identifier: 195889
Full Citation: Surplus Commodities Program; ca. 1936; Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/surplus-commodities-program, September 16, 2019]


Surplus Commodities Program

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Document

"Your community can sponsor a school lunch program for its children" Make America Strong set. Poster number 10.

1941 - 1945

In 1935, Congress had passed legislation that enabled the secretary of agriculture to purchase surplus agricultural commodities, which were often used to provide school lunches for children who could not afford to pay. Federal funding of school lunches continued on a year-to-year basis during World War II. As the war drew to a close, many school boards hesitated to include the school lunch program because of the decrease in federal support through donated food. The House and Senate held hearings on the creation of a permanent school lunch program in 1944 and 1945, and President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act into law on June 4, 1946. This is poster 10 from the Make America Strong set.

Text adapted from “Letter about the School Lunch Program” in the September 2009 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) publication Social Education.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 514939
Full Citation: Poster 44-PA-1313; "Your community can sponsor a school lunch program for its children" Make America Strong set. Poster number 10.; 1941 - 1945; World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/your-community-can-sponsor-a-school-lunch-program-for-its-children, September 16, 2019]


"Your community can sponsor a school lunch program for its children" Make America Strong set. Poster number 10.

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Document

"Every child Needs a Good School Lunch"

ca. 1941 - 1945

In its early years, school lunch was a child welfare program. Later it became a matter of national security. Malnourished children did not grow up to be good soldiers. In 1943 the War Food Administration took over — and dramatically expanded — the federal school lunch program.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of Government Reports.
National Archives Identifier: 514223
Full Citation: "Every child Needs a Good School Lunch"; ca. 1941 - 1945; Records of the Office of Government Reports, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/every-child-needs-a-good-school-lunch, September 16, 2019]


"Every child Needs a Good School Lunch"

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Document

Surplus Commodities: School Lunch Program

ca. 1936

Prior to the initiation of the Surplus Commodities program in 1936, “plow up” and “kill” methods were used to dispose of farm products. The decision to feed farm surplus to hungry school children was made after the public outcry over the Government’s slaughter of 6 million baby pigs.

Text adapted from “Letter about the School Lunch Program” in the September 2009 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) publication Social Education.
This primary source comes from the Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs.
National Archives Identifier: 195892
Full Citation: Surplus Commodities: School Lunch Program; ca. 1936; Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, 1882 - 1962; Collection FDR-PHOCO: Franklin D. Roosevelt Library Public Domain Photographs, ; Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, NY. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/surplus-commodities-school-lunch-program, September 16, 2019]


Surplus Commodities: School Lunch Program

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Document

Letter from Mrs. Morton Livingston to Senator Claude Pepper Regarding the School Lunch Program

2/7/1946

On February 7, 1946, in response to an urgent bulletin sent to all Florida school districts by the state's department of education, Mrs. [Janette] Morton Livingston wrote to Senator Claude Pepper. The December 1945 bulletin expressed concern that the federal government might cease to fund the nation's school lunch program. In her single-page letter, Livingston, president of the Parent Teacher Association of Fort Ogden, Florida, urged the senator to support the program. Her earnest plea was among many letters and telegrams that the senator's office received as Congress held hearings on H.R. 3370, The National School Lunch Act. In 1935, Congress had passed legislation that enabled the secretary of agriculture to purchase surplus agricultural commodities, which were often used to provide school lunches for children who could not afford to pay. Federal funding of school lunches continued on a year-to-year basis during World War II. As the war drew to a close, many school boards hesitated to include the school lunch program because of the decrease in federal support through donated food. The House and Senate held hearings on the creation of a permanent school lunch program in 1944 and 1945, and President Harry S. Truman signed the National School Lunch Act into law on June 4, 1946.

Text adapted from “Letter about the School Lunch Program” in the September 2009 National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) publication Social Education.
This primary source comes from the Records of the U.S. Senate.
National Archives Identifier: 5815516
Full Citation: Letter from Mrs. Morton Livingston to Senator Claude Pepper Regarding the School Lunch Program; 2/7/1946; (SEN 79A-E5, H.R. 3370); Papers Accompanying Specific Bills and Resolutions, 1901 - 1946; Records of the U.S. Senate, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/letter-from-mrs-morton-livingston-to-senator-claude-pepper-regarding-the-school-lunch-program, September 16, 2019]


Letter from Mrs. Morton Livingston to Senator Claude Pepper Regarding the School Lunch Program

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Document

School Lunch Recipes for 100

09/1946

Before the government began to allow commercial food companies to provide school lunches in the 1970s, meals were usually prepared on site. These recipes are from 1946, the year the National School Lunch Act made it a permanent, nationwide program.
This primary source comes from the Publications of the U.S. Government.
National Archives Identifier: 5711542
Full Citation: School Lunch Recipes for 100; 09/1946; Publications of the U.S. Government, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/school-lunch-recipes-for-100, September 16, 2019]


School Lunch Recipes for 100

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School Lunch Recipes for 100

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School Lunch Recipes for 100

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School Lunch Recipes for 100

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Document

Senate Democrats Dine on School Lunch

09/24/1981

In 1981, the USDA attempted to save a potential $1 billion by reclassifying ketchup and relish as vegetables. In protest, Senate Democrats staged luncheons made to the proposed new standards. The bad press and public outcry prevented the policy’s implementation.
This primary source comes from the Roddey E. Mims Collection.
National Archives Identifier: 5723121
Full Citation: Senate Democrats Dine on School Lunch; 09/24/1981; Roddey E. Mims Collection, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/senate-democrats-dine-on-school-lunch, September 16, 2019]


Senate Democrats Dine on School Lunch

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Document

Quantity Recipes for School Food Service

This image comes from a set of photographs of school food service used in slide presentations related to "Educational Programs on Nutrition, Food Production, and Natural Resources" by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture.
This primary source comes from the Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture.
National Archives Identifier: 5711560
Full Citation: Photograph 16-SP-FNS-5; Quantity Recipes for School Food Service; Photographic Presentations Relating to Educational Programs on Nutrition, Food Production, and Natural Resources, 1965 - 1987; Records of the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture, ; National Archives at College Park, College Park, MD. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/school-lunch, September 16, 2019]


Quantity Recipes for School Food Service

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