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for Healthy School Meals for All

THE ISSUE.

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    38+

    Million people in America struggled against hunger in 2020

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    1 in 7

    Households with children could not buy enough food for their families in 2020

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    10

    Reasons why you should support healthy school meals. Learn more.

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    63%

    of voters nationwide support legislation that would make free school meals permanently available to all students.

We can’t turn back now.

To keep child hunger at bay during the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued waivers to allow schools to provide meals at no charge to all students, no matter their household income. Without these waivers, the alarming spikes in childhood hunger caused by the fallout of COVID-19 would have been even worse.

But the waiver authorizing free school meals for all students expired in June 2022. 

The pandemic served as a valuable lesson on the critical importance of providing healthy meals to all students. We can’t let that lesson be forgotten. 

It’s time to move forward, not turn back.

THE CHALLENGE.

Children can’t learn on an empty stomach. School meals are just as important to students’ academic success as textbooks or transportation. Yet, prior to the pandemic, too many children were missing out because they didn’t qualify for free school meals.

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THE SOLUTION.

Healthy School Meals for All — offering school breakfast and lunch to all students at no charge to families —helps ensure that all children have the nutrition they need to grow and thrive.

We need to continue building on what we know works in order to fuel children’s health and learning.

Tell Congress hungry children can’t wait.

Healthy School Meals for All is also critical for advancing racial equity and justice, ensuring Black, Indigenous and Latinx students get the nutrition they need to support their education and beyond.

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By providing healthy school meals for all students, we can eliminate school meal debt and the lunch shaming that can stem from it.

State Healthy School Meals for All Campaigns

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GET INVOLVED.

Healthy school meals for all students would be a game changer. Encourage your legislators to endorse the Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021. This bill would ensure that all children have access to nutritious meals in order to learn and thrive year-round as we recover from the pandemic and beyond.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR

TELL YOUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS.



 

HOW HAVE SCHOOL MEALS BEEN IMPORTANT TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY?

TELL US YOUR STORY
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BUILDING MOMENTUM.

Across the U.S., parents, teachers, students, doctors, nurses, dieticians, policymakers and many others are raising their hand in support of Healthy School Meals for All. California, Maine and Colorado have made free school meals for all a permanent part of the school day. In addition, Nevada, Massachusetts and Vermont have established free school meals for all students during the 2022-2023 school year. Many other states are considering similar legislation. Join us in being part of the solution!

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News & Updates

Maine's Path to Healthy School Meals for All

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What Families Lost When the US Lost Universal Free School Meals (The Hill)

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Universal Free Meals to Students Is Now a Reality With Voters Largely in Favor (The Denver Post)

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Student Leader Applauds California's Free School Meals for All (Voice of OC)

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‘The Kids Are Just Happier’: Could California’s Universal School Meal Program Start a Trend? (The Guardian)

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Free School Meals: When the Feds Step Back, States Step Up (Bloomberg)

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‘Starting to Panic’: School Lunch Costs Return for US Families Just as Inflation Hits (Bloomberg)

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Advocates Call for White House to Speed Up Efforts to Secure Universal School Meals (K–12 Dive)

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N.C. Bill Would Provide Free Lunches to All Students in Public Schools (WECT)

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Nevada Students Won’t Need to Worry About School Meals Next Year (KLAS)

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Reykdal Calls for WA Legislature to Fund Free School Meals for All (Seattle Times)

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Help Make Healthy School Meals for All the New ‘Normal’ in Maryland

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Vermont Passes Healthy School Meals for All Legislation

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California and Maine Lead the Way With Healthy School Meals for All

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Healthy School Meals for All Advances Racial Equity

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True Cost of Food Report from The Rockefeller Foundation Reinforces Benefits of Healthy School Meals for All

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VIDEOS

Raise your hand for Healthy School Meals for All!
Check out FRAC's latest Healthy School Meals for All to learn the strategies of successful HSM4A campaigns from Massachusetts, Wisconsin, and Colorado.
Watch a feature on Healthy School Meals for All from Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. FRAC Director of School and Out-of-School Time Programs is featured on the practice of "lunch shaming."
Hear Minnesota Rep Ilhan Omar speak on the critical importance of Healthy School Meals for All in an exchange with USDA Food and Nutrition Service Administration Cindy Long at a hearing of the House Education and Labor Committee.
Learn how to start a Healthy School Meals for All campaign in your state in this FRAC webinar.
California has already passed legislation to provide school meals to all students at no cost to families, proving Healthy School Meals for All is a viable policy option to prevent hunger and support academic achievement.
Maine has already passed legislation to provide school meals to all students at no cost to families, proving Healthy School Meals for All is a viable policy option to prevent hunger and support academic achievement.

Additional Resources

National Partners

FRAC works in coalition with the following national organizations to advance federal Healthy School Meals for All legislation:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; American Academy of Pediatrics; American Federation of Teachers; Center for Biological Diversity; First Focus on Children; FoodCorps; MomsRising; National Education Association; National PTA; ParentsTogether Action; School Nutrition Association; Solving Hunger, Tusk Philanthropies

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