During the pandemic, Massachusetts has had universal school meals for the first time made possible by temporarily isued waivers, removing barriers that have kept many students from participating in school meal programs.
To keep school meals accessible for all students, The Feed Kids Coalition—led by Project Bread —joined with bill sponsors Senator Sal DiDomenico and Representative Andy Vargas to file legislation on Monday, February 2, 2021 for School Meals for All.
This legislation, if enacted, would make universal school meals permenant in Massachusetts, allowing every student who wants or needs a school breakfast or lunch to receive it—at no cost to their family and with no requirement to sign up or provide income or other information.
The hearing for An Act Relative to Universal School Meals (H.714/S.314) took place Tuesday, January 4, 2022 — and we made our case for School Meals for All!
Organized by the Feed Kids Coalition, 21 experts and leaders across sectors gave passionate oral testimony to the Joint Committee on Education that illustrated why this transformative bill, An Act Relative to Universal School Meals (H.714/S.314), demands their support and should move through committee. Who testified?
5 elected officials called for state action:
3 physicians and health leaders illustrated the link between hunger and health:
4 educators and school nutrition experts shared stories of hunger in the classroom and the burdens on schools:
2 business leaders testified that School Meals for All cultivates future leaders:
3 anti-hunger organizations explained the magnitude of the child hunger crisis:
4 social justice advocates — community leaders, students, and parents — shared their story:
Alongside powerful oral testimony, the Feed Kids Coalition mobilized an outpouring of grassroots support from advocates and groups across Massachusetts.
Over 1,000 messages were sent by advocates urging legislators to support this critical bill. Will you help us get to 1,500?
The coalition submitted 9 letters of support to the committee to demonstrate the broad support behind this bill, including:
194 social workers
186 educators and school nutrition workers
93 Feed Kids coalition organizations
80 physicians and health professionals
58 anti-hunger agencies
27 faith leaders
and 20 municipal leaders
The stakes are high for School Meals for All coming out of Tuesday's hearing. If the committee votes against this bill, an entire generation of children who have just suffered through a global pandemic will lose access to universal school meals. We can’t let the state put barriers back up to the only two reliable meals some children are receiving.
The future of this bill—and the future of 250,000 kids who benefit from School Meals for All—is in your hands.
The most powerful tool we have to help make School Meals for All a reality is stories, like all of those who testified. Stories shape how lawmakers view hunger by connecting them on a personal level to the issue. By sharing your story, you are bringing us closer to a Massachusetts that guarantees School Meals for All.