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14th Aug 2022

California to become first state to offer free school meals to every kid

Danny Jones

Free school meals California

One in eight children in California go hungry

California is set to become the first state in America to introduce free school meals across the region from the 2022-2023 school year onwards.

The Universal Meals Program is the first of its kind in the US and will provide a minimum of two free meals, breakfast and lunch, to school children as part of a $150 million statewide initiative.

Spearheaded by California’s governor Gavin Newsom, the bill itself was passed in 2021 and is now preparing to roll out, providing food for those from kindergarten age (nursery or reception here in the UK) all the way up to 12th grade (year 13 or sixth form).

Newsom stated on Twitter that not only will California become the first to take this positive step, but that the state can now guarantee that “6 million of [their] public school students” will no longer have to worry about going without a meal.

It is currently estimated that one in eight Californian children go hungry and one in five when comes to adults.

The new law will ensure that public school districts, county offices of education and charter schools will benefit from morning and afternoon meals.

The reaction to the reform has been overwhelmingly positive and Americans are now calling for the US government to make free school meals universal across the country, as well pump more money into other infrastructural and social issues.

It is now also believed that states like Maine and Vermont are also set to introduce their own free school meal schemes, hopefully signalling even more to follow suit.

While it might be more common here in the UK, it wasn’t too long ago that Marcus Rashford’s 2021 campaign gave Britain a stark reminder of how vital nutritious school meals are for the millions of low-income households across the country.

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