California students will now be eligible for free meals starting the 2022-2023 school year.
In a report by Feeding America, the COVID-19 pandemic increased food insecurity in families, projecting that 13 million children (1 in 6), may have experienced food insecurity in 2021. With this reality in mind, California’s Universal Meals Program will provide breakfast and lunch to students regardless of family income. This will include students in public school districts, charter schools, and other public applicable classrooms in the state.
According to the California Department Of Education‘s site, there are three key pillars that have been established to ensure that the program is a success:
- California’s State Meal Mandate is expanded to include both a nutritiously adequate breakfast and lunch for, not just needy children, but all children each school day.
- High poverty schools will be required to participate in a federal provision.
- The California State Legislature allocates funds to provide additional state meal reimbursement to cover the cost of the Universal Meals Program.
This food program is part of the state Assembly Bill 130 that California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law just last year.
If you have any questions, you can contact the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division by email at UniversalMealsSY22@cde.ca.gov or visit their site cde.ca.gov for more information.