According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) most recent report, 38.3 million people lived in food-insecure households in 2020. Moreover, Feeding America reported that about one in six children experienced food insecurity in 2021.
With rampant inflation and surging food costs nationwide, though, this number has likely increased.
But, California is fighting back against food insecurity with a groundbreaking new initiative known as the Universal Meals Program.
Beginning in the 2022-2023 school year, all school-aged children will be provided with free school meals– feeding about 6 million adolescents statewide.
The California Department of Education (CDE) explained how this new program is meant to build upon the groundwork laid by the federal National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP),
And in order to be successful, the CDE has outlined three key pillars of action.
First, the California State Meal Mandate will be expanded to include both nutritious breakfasts and lunches.
“Not just for needy children, but all children each school day,” the CDE wrote.
Then, schools with high poverty rates will be required to apply for and participate in federal provisions.