California to continue free school lunch program for all students

When the COVID-19 pandemic started, the U.S. Department of Agriculture ensured that all students would have access to free lunches despite not being physically in classrooms.

As students went back to an in-building education setting, the free lunch program continued and was extended through the 2021-2022 school year, The Washington Post reported in April. But once the program expires, students and their families could revert to paying for school lunches.

That is except for California.

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Lawmakers in California have decided that the state will permanently give free school meals to students, CNN reported.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the measure on Twitter last week.

About 60% of the 6.2 million students in California qualified for either free or reduced meals during the 2019-2020 school year, CNN reported.

California is the first state to offer the program to all students, according to TomKat Ranch Educational Foundation, a sponsor of the School Meals for All group.

School Meals for All consists of more than 200 organizations that have lobbied for state school lunch funding.

Some cities, including New York, Boston and Chicago offer free lunches to all students, The Associated Press reported.

Maine is also taking steps to provide free meals to all students, but in the past, state-wide programs have been seen as too costly and unrealistic, according to the AP.

Under California’s plan, all students will be able to get two free meals each day, the governor’s office said in a news release.

To read more about the initiative, click here.

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