MA Senate passes legislation addressing unpaid school meal debt

Project Bread

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Project Bread applauds the Senate passage of legislation addressing unpaid school meal debt.

By expanding access to free school meals for higher-need communities and limiting student involvement in debt collection policies, An Act Promoting Student Nutrition (S.2532) will help thousands of students across the Commonwealth to access the food they need, everyday.

child in school cafeteria line

Today, September 23, 2021, the Massachusetts Senate voted to ensure that thousands of students across Massachusetts have access to the school nutrition they need by passing S.2532, An Act Promoting Student Nutrition.

This legislation will help address many of the root causes and adverse impacts of unpaid school meal debt by encouraging expanded access to free school meals for higher-need communities and limiting student involvement in debt collection policies. Project Bread applauds this important step forward.

Passage of this legislation by the Senate is a critical step in the fight against childhood hunger in our state,” said Erin McAleer, President and CEO of Project Bread, the statewide nonprofit partner of the Department of Education working to prevent childhood hunger. “Hungry students cannot learn. And no child should bear the stress of unpaid meal debt at school. By addressing the systemic barriers, we encourage a more equitable school meal system for all of our children.

Project Bread thanks bill sponsor Senator Creem, and Senate leadership including Education Chair Lewis, Ways and Means Chair Rodrigues, and Senate President Spilka for their leadership and advocacy on behalf of Massachusetts students. We were proud to partner with Mass Law Reform Institute and the No Student Hungry coalition on this effort and look forward to final passage of this legislation, and working with school districts on implementation.

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