Massachusetts is one of the wealthiest states in the country, yet one million Massachusetts residents are food insecure. As a result of the increasing rates of hunger due to COVID-19, temporary measures have been implemented to promote food security. Every student in Massachusetts currently has access to free school meals, and while these preventative measures are a step in the right direction, without permanent legislation food insecurity will persist long beyond the threat of the pandemic.
Project Bread has launched a campaign to secure universal free school meals in the state of Massachusetts. Edible Boston spoke with Jennifer Lemmerman, Senior Director of Government Affairs at Project Bread, about the campaign. Project Bread has always believed universal school meals to be a necessary step in ending childhood hunger. Just as every student has equal access to school resources when they get hurt, Lemmerman believes the same should apply to school meals. No cost, paperwork, or income verification should be necessary for a child to receive the nutrition they need to be successful during the school day.
The majority of our state budget goes towards education and health because we value investing in our communities and in our futures. We cannot address education and health without addressing food insecurity and prioritizing the needs of children in our state. Through the support of legislators and a grassroots coalition, The Feed Kids Coalition, led by Project Bread, is optimistic about this legislation that will change the way people view food access beyond the COVID-19 crisis.