The state of California is the first in the nation to offer a universal meals program for all public schools. The program, which the state government will fund because of the recent historic budget increase; this bill will provide complimentary breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of their family income. The program is expected to launch in the fall of the 2022-2023 school year and will be part of the seven key pillars. In addition, California’s universal meals program is a major step in ensuring that all students have access to nutritious food.
The state will forgive all balances and debts for previous school meals; This will help ensure that nutrition centers have the funding to provide healthy meals for students. Having free lunches and meals in place will help low-income families and will also help to improve the health of these students against lunch shaming in schools.
Some districts like Sacramento City Unified already offer free lunch and meals throughout the school year and even throughout the summer months, thanks to the summer meals program. A quote Assistant Director of Nutritional Services Kelsey Nederveld said on 10 WBNS news “The last two and a half years since COVID started in March 2020, the USDA allowed flexibilities in our meal programs, and therefore we were able to offer free meals to all students since March 2020.”
The program not only hopes to ensure everyone has access to complimentary breakfast and lunch, but they want to ensure everyone has nutritious meals, even if students have boxed meals or don’t have them. Schools are also making grants for their after school programs so students can have snacks and enjoy memorable meals they usually wouldn’t be able to in normal class hours.
Why More States Should Offer a Universal Meals Program
A universal meals program offers free or reduced-price lunches and breakfasts to all students, regardless of income level. Currently, California is the only state that provides universal meals to all of their public schools; even with massive funding being given out to multiple school districts, not all of them in many states offer free meals. However, many states aren’t required to disclose where many of their covid relief funds are going.
Doing so would provide much-needed support to low-income families and help to level the playing field for all students. Hopefully, more states in the future will adopt their universal meals programs and work on making sure students have healthy but also unique meals in their area.
Student Hires Programs
At Student Hires, we believe all young people deserve access to high-quality expanded learning programs. That’s why we train our staff with in-house training, so schools don’t have to worry about hiring and training staff. We also know that proper nutrition is essential for students to thrive in school and life.
That’s why we ensure that all our students have access to delicious and nutritious snacks. In addition, our meals ensure that all students have a wide variety of food they need to fuel their minds and bodies. With the support of our community, we are changing the lives of young people in our community.
California is at the forefront of a nationwide push to provide universal meal programs in public schools. This effort is being driven by concerns over child hunger and the ever-growing cost of school lunches. The good news is if the program succeeds, hopefully, more states will follow suit, with more and more schools offering free or reduced-price meals to all students. Does your school district provide a universal meals program? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear how it works for you and your community.