The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or no-cost lunches to children each school day. The program was established under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act, signed into law by President Harry Truman in 1946.
About 7.1 million children participated in the NSLP in its first year. Since then, the program has reached millions of children nationwide: 1970: 22.4 million children; 1980: 26.6 million children; 1990: 21.1 million children; 2000: 27.3 million children; 2010: 31.8 million children; and 2016: 30.4 million children.