Before 1969, there were no large scale breakfast programs for children. Thousands of Black children went without a meal to begin their day. The Black Panthers took it upon themselves to address this need in our community.
The strategy was simple: feed the children. The Panthers were in full pursuit of Black liberation, and they realized that for us to push forward, the next generation of Black leaders needed to have their basic needs met in order to survive.
The benefits of their program showed immediately. Children were no longer falling asleep in class or crying from stomach cramps. They were fed, alert, and ready to learn and grow their minds. The educational benefits of this program forced the government to implement free breakfast programs in public schools nationwide.
The program was also a great way to inspire the next generation. The Panthers became a positive presence in the lives of the kids they served, inspiring them to carry the torch forward.
The Black Panther’s free breakfast program shows how we, as a community, can address any need that our people have. We just need to have faith and trust in each other in order to do it.