We created this shirt in dedication to the Black Panther Party's Free Food Program and their unwavering support and devotion to the community and its' betterment.
The Panthers started the Free Breakfast Program because hunger and poverty made it difficult for many poor black children to learn in school. The national School Lunch Program provided reduced-price, but not free lunches for underprivileged children, and the national School Breakfast Program was limited to a few rural schools. To address this need, the Panthers initiated the Free Breakfast Program at St. Augustine’s Church in Oakland in January 1969.
The Breakfast Program quickly spread to chapters in 23 cities by the end of the year. Local businesses, churches and community-based organizations donated space for the program and nutritious food like eggs, grits, toast, and milk. The Panthers fed more than 20,000 children nationally in 1969. By 1971, at least 36 cities had a breakfast program.
In a 1969 U.S. Senate hearing, the national School Lunch Program administrator admitted that the Panthers fed more poor school children than did the State of California.