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Schools Closed for Summer, So are Meals

School Cafeteria | Image by Medolka/Shutterstock
School Cafeteria | Image by Medolka/Shutterstock

A report in The Hill asks what happens in the summer to students who rely on free school meals during the academic year:

“A growing number of states have implemented free lunches for all students in recent years, making the school year easier for families who are food insecure. But the summer is a different story.

“While new federal summer food programs are being cheered by advocates, some states haven’t been able to implement those initiatives, and school officials have been struggling to keep families informed of their options and involved in the process. States ramped up passing laws for free school meals in 2022 after the end of a national COVID-19 pandemic program that sought to keep students fed.

“‘Unfortunately, with summertime, all of those resources come to a screeching halt, and that’s when the school gates are locked, millions of youths are locked out of their own reliable source of balanced meals,’  said Vince Hall, chief government relations officer for Feeding America.

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a report last year showing 44.2 million households in the United States had difficulty affording food in 2022, leading 13 million children to live with food insecurity. The states giving completely free lunches during the academic year include Minnesota, New Mexico, Colorado, Vermont, Michigan, Massachusetts, California and Maine.

“‘When we feed our children, we’re feeding our future — these investments today will yield benefits tomorrow through generations of healthier New Mexicans,’ Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) said when her state’s measure was passed.

“While free school lunch programs are catching fire, there aren’t really parallel programs for the months outside the academic year.”

To read the entire article on The Hill, please click HERE.

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