A historic moment for Massachusetts Kids

Thank Governor Healey and the Legislature for Making School Meals for All Permanent in Massachusetts!

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MA legislature includes permanent school meals for all in state budget

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The Feed Kids Coalition, led by Project Bread, celebrates the inclusion of permanent School Meals for All in the legislature’s FY24 state budget conference committee report, a historic investment in addressing childhood hunger. Making these meals permanently free for every student in the Commonwealth eliminates barriers that previously prevented more than 80,000 students from accessing them, and from reaching their full potential.

 “Massachusetts is on the precipice of a historic victory. Making this policy permanent would dismantle a system that was broken for over 50 years and move our state closer to ending hunger for generations of students to come,” says Erin McAleer, President and CEO of Project Bread, the organization leading the Feed Kids Coalition.

“We would not be where we are today without the voices and activism of thousands of advocates and organizations, who made it clear that feeding our kids must be a statewide priority. We are grateful to all of our partners across the state and in the Legislature who have brought us to this point, and now urge the Governor to sign this measure into law.”

 The Feed Kids Coalition and Project Bread offers deep thanks to the members of the budget Conference Committee.

 Special thanks to Speaker Ron Mariano, Chairman Aaron Michlewitz, and Assistant Majority Leader Alice Peisch; as the House first proposed extending the school meals program in their FY ’23 budget, then further proposed making the program permanent in their budget proposal this Spring.  Their leadership on this issue has been instrumental.  We want to express our gratitude to:

  • Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Andy Vargas for their longstanding leadership as sponsors of this originating legislation, and advocating for feeding children in Massachusetts.

  • Senate President Karen Spilka and Senate Ways and Means Chair Senator Michael Rodrigues for their commitment and leadership in supporting low-income households.

  • Senate Chair Jason Lewis and House Chair Denise Garlick of the Joint Committee on Education for recognizing the importance of school meals to education.

  • The 134 members of the Legislature that cosponsored An Act Relative to Universal School Meals.


We want to recognize the over 130 partners that make up the Feed Kids Coalition and the Project Bread Action Team for using their voices to advocate for Universal School Meals. You flooded legislators with calls, emails, and tweets— and they clearly heard you!

School Meals for All, first implemented on the federal level in March 2020 and extended by the state last school year, has eliminated the largest barriers to participation in school meals: paperwork, cost, and stigma. After three years of targeted action and advocacy, the end of childhood hunger in Massachusetts is finally within sight. 

This policy has proven effective on many levels. First and foremost, it feeds more kids. Between October 2019 and October 2022, over 80,000 additional students ate lunch daily in schools not previously providing universal free meals. These meals are especially critical because they can account for up to half of a student's daily nutrition and represent one of the healthiest sources of food available to students

This yields additional benefits, including: 

  • Higher-quality school meals
  • Reduced future health costs
  • Increased food security
  • Elimination of stigma and school meal debt

The FY 2024 budget now heads to Governor Healey’s desk. Governor Healey has always supported this program in the past— now, we respectfully ask her to show her continued commitment to food security by maintaining this policy in the budget she signs.

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