Search This Page

Friday, August 12, 2022

California to provide free breakfast, lunch for students in first statewide meals program

When schoolc hildren return to California classrooms for the 2022-2023 school year, they will all be eligible for free breakfast and lunch, no matter their family’s income level.  

California’s Universal Meals Program will provide funding for breakfast and lunch each school day to students who request a meal, regardless of whether they qualify for free or reduced price meals already. It will include students in state public school districts, charter schools and other public classrooms across the state.  

The program means California is the first state in the country to have a free statewide school meals programaccording to multiple reports. After California's action Maine officials also approved a similar program taking effect this year.

The income caps for students receiving free or reduced price meals change annually, tied to federal poverty measures. The Associated Press reported last year that a family of four must have made less than $34,000 per year for a student to qualify for free meals. They must have made less than $48,000 to qualify for reduced-price meals.

The food program is part of state Assembly Bill 130, which Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed into law last year.  

Erin Primer, director of food and nutrition services for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, told the Associated Press last year the free meals are “historic” and “beyond life-changing" for students.  

“We’ve completely leveled the playing field when it comes to school food,” she said.  

Many schools across the country started offering free meals to all public school students during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But some schools are returning to charging students for meals. 

Several cities across the U.S., including New York, Boston and Chicago, offer free school meals for students.  

Contributing: The Associated Press  

"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." - John Quincy Adams