Local Perspectives: Community Leaders Call For School Meals For All At No Charge

In 2020, Congress gave USDA authority to issue child nutrition waivers, which permitted districts to serve meals to all students at no cost, also known as universal school meals. Having access to free meals at school helps alleviate the burden for thousands of families facing food insecurity.

But families stand to lose that access to school meals free of charge very soon when the federally funded program, universal school meals, expire on June 30. If Congress doesn’t take action, state policymakers have the opportunity to step up to extend programs locally. 

Below are excerpts from two opinion-editorials authored by state community leaders who explain the importance of state policymakers taking action to support school meals for all at no charge:

Kids of Tornado-devastated Mayfield Now Face Another Challenge, No School Meals for Summer

“We are facing the heartbreaking possibility of canceling Mayfield Independent School District’s school meals program this summer, which would be devastating for thousands of students who live in Mayfield and in three other school districts that we serve over the summer.

If school meals for all at no charge ends after June 30, we simply won’t have the funds to reach all the children in need of food.”

Leah Feagin, food service director for Mayfield Independent School District

Mass. Should Retain Free Meals For All At Schools

“Prior to the pandemic, more than 120,000 children in Massachusetts didn’t know where their next meal was coming from. Since COVID-19 arrived in the US, food insecurity rates in our state have doubled as families have faced increased financial hurdles from job loss to inflation.

Although our food insecurity statistics are staggering, there is a clear way to help end childhood hunger: by continuing to offer school meals at no charge for every student.”

Jennifer Lemmerman, vice president of public policy at Project Bread

You can read the full piece from each of the authors in their original publications:

Read Leah’s in the Courier-Journal.

Read Jennifer’s in Commonwealth Magazine

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