Thank Governor Healey and the Legislature for Making School Meals for All Permanent in Massachusetts!
Today, Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll proposed a supplemental budget making a key investment in solving childhood food insecurity: an extension of School Meals for All into the 2023-2024 school year!
The Feed Kids Coalition, led by Project Bread has been advocating for such an extension, including during our featured Feed Kids Action Week happening all this week. We applaud this decision by the administration to prioritize feeding kids. Last year’s extension, which enabled School Meals for All for this school year, originated with the Legislature. So the fact that Governor Healey made this a priority is an encouraging sign of their commitment and of our effective advocacy efforts!
"The Healey-Driscoll administration has taken a bold step forward to ensure that we can end child hunger," shares Erin McAleer, President and CEO of Project Bread. "Across the nation, we are seeing hunger and growing meal debt in schools where they did not extend Universal School Meals, exacerbating a crisis for families, educators, and communities. We are proud in Massachusetts to be leaders in hunger solutions, and we thank Governor Healey and Lt. Governor Driscoll for their commitment to innovative policies for improving food security for all residents of the Commonwealth.”
School Meals for All has been an enormous success in Massachusetts. In October 2022, 80,000 more students ate lunch compared to October 2019 in schools not previously serving universally free meals. Of these students, 30,000 were previously eligible for free meals, but were not participating in 2019. With stigma eliminated from the cafeteria, these students are now eating school lunch.
This proposal represents another year of investment in children’s personal and academic success, ensuring positive school meal experiences, and supporting positive health outcomes for our communities. This also represents support for our schools and the hard-working school nutrition departments who have worked unendingly for the last three years to keep kids fed.
Building on their past support of School Meals for All in the FY23 budget, we encourage the legislature to act swiftly to pass an extension of this program for next school year, providing security and peace of mind to families and school districts.
Thank Governor Healey for taking this important step and encourage the legislature to pass it quickly!