Project Bread Celebrates Passage of Legislation to Address Meal Debt

Project Bread

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Yesterday, Governor Baker signed An Act Promoting Student Nutrition into law, ensuring that up to ten thousand more students will have access to the school nutrition they need.

This new law 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.

Final passage by the legislature and approval by the Governor means that up to ten thousand more Massachusetts students will have access to school meals,” said Erin McAleer, President and CEO of Project Bread, the statewide nonprofit partner of the Department of Education working to prevent childhood hunger. “At the same time, it will help to ensure that no child has to bear the stress of unpaid meal debt in order to eat at school. Cost and stigma are the biggest barriers to students getting the nutrition they need at school, and this law brings us closer to permanently removing those barriers for all Massachusetts children.”

girl reaching for salad during school lunch

Project Bread thanks Governor Baker, our partners at Massachusetts Law Reform and the No Student Hungry coalition, as well as bill sponsors Senator Creem, Representative Vargas, and Representative Garballey. We are grateful for the leadership of Senate President Spilka, House Speaker Mariano, Education Committee Chairs Senator Lewis and Representative Peisch, and Ways and Means Chairs Senator Rodrigues and Representative Michlewitz for their work to move this legislation forward. We look forward to working with school districts on implementation and to continuing the work of ending childhood hunger in Massachusetts.

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