School meals are a critical source of nutrition to many children. But right now, too many children who could benefit from school meals aren’t eating them. By ensuring all students have access to school meals at no cost, more children could receive the nutrition they need at school–helping them to thrive academically, physically, and emotionally.
Universal school meals allow every student who wants or needs a school breakfast or lunch to receive it, at no cost to their family. When everyone has equitable access to school meals, all students have the best opportunity to learn and thrive in and out of the classroom.
Cost and stigma are two major barriers to students eating meals at school. Schools adopting meals for all saw higher participation by removing these barriers and guaranteeing every child greater access to school meals.
As a result of flexibilities granted in response to the pandemic, every student in MA has access to free school meals.This barrier was temporarily removed at the federal level because this crisis put a spotlight on the need to ensure the right to the most basic of necessities — food — for all kids. As we work toward recovery from this crisis and beyond, we cannot let this barrier go back up.
“No student is required to pay fees before entering their classroom to learn. The same should apply to the fundamental need of food.”
Erin McAleer, CEO, Project Bread
would eat school meals if School Meals for All legislation is enacted