There are 48 million school children who are served by school food services in the United States everyday. Many of these children participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), which was established by Congress in 1946 to provide low-cost or free nutritionally sound lunches to public school children. By 1946, about 7.1 million children were being served. This grew to 22 million by 1970, and by 2000 more than 27.4 million children were fed through the NSLP. Since 1946 more than 180 billion lunches have been served. School food service and the NSLP play a very important role in children's learning.