Our Universal school meals legislation, "School Meals for All", to make school meals available at no-cost to every student in Massachusetts heads for a cricital moment. And we need your help.
The Joint Committee on Education will hear testimonies on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 on whether this bill will move forward.
Now is the time for you to make some noise! This is our small window of opportunity to influence whether School Meal for All will get one step closer to becoming a reality for kids across the Commonwealth.
If the Commitee recommends the bill:
Federal pandemic waivers allowing our state to serve free meals to all students expire at the end of this school year, and if the Committee doesn’t vote to favorably on School Meals for All, many Massachusetts children who relied on universal school meals as one of their their primary sources of nutrition during the pandemic will go hungry.
We need you to act and tell the Massachusetts legislature to prevent a child hunger crisis in our state. Committee hearings are an important part of the legislative process because they offer an opportunity for legislators to hear directly from their constituents on legislation that impacts their community.
School Meals for All will ensure that every child can receive a breakfast or lunch at school, at no cost to them and with no requirement to prove need. It will eliminate the traditional meal system that divides students by household income into three groups- —free, reduced-price, and full price —and stigmatizes them among their peers.
This system is broken, and it doesn’t meet the needs of our state’s children. As of 2019, in Massachusetts, 26% of food-insecure children are not eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. This means that thousands of children go hungry during the school day, or accrue meal debts that their households cannot pay. For those children that do qualify for subsidized meals, the stigma of being labeled low-income can also prevent them from eating.
The benefits of school meals on a child's well-being are clear. Without access to school meals, a child’s long-term development can be interrupted, and many students experience severe health consequences that are the hallmark of hunger and malnutrition. School Meals for All is the only way to ensure that every child has access to the nutrition they need to be healthy. This legislation would fundamentally change our school meal system, making meals an integral part of the school day. They are an investment in the health and wellbeing of the children of Massachusetts.
We are grateful to partner with you in the fight against hunger in Massachusetts. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to get more involved.