State Reps Tackle School Meal Debt by Expanding Free Access

Project Bread

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An Act to Promote Student Nutrtion

Project Bread applauds the House passage of legislation addressing unpaid school meal debt. We look forward to working with the Senate to ensure full passage of these important provisions.

By expanding access to free school meals for higher-need communities and limiting student involvement in debt collection policies, An Act to Promote Student Nutrition (H. 715) will help thousands of students across the Commonwealth to access the food they need, everyday.

House of Reps Passes Crucial Legisation

Today, July 30, 2021, the Massachusetts House of Representatives voted to ensure that thousands of students across Massachusetts have access to the school nutrition they need by passing H.715, An Act to Promote Student Nutrition. This legislation will help address many of the root causes and adverse impacts of unpaid school meal debt by expanding access to free school meals for higher-need communities and limiting student involvement in debt collection policies. Project Bread applauds this important step forward.

Hungry students can’t learn.  When some children endure the burden of hunger in the classroom and school meal debt and others do not, we can’t achieve equity in education,” said Erin McAleer, President and CEO of Project Bread, the statewide nonprofit partner of the Department of Education working to prevent childhood hunger. “This legislation expands access to school meals – a vital source of nutrition for our kids in MA.  Policy is the most effective to address broken systems and this legislation advances the work to ensure no child goes through the school day hungry.

Project Bread thanks bill sponsors Representatives Vargas and Garballey, and House leadership including Education Chair Peisch, Ways and Means Chair Michlewitz, and House Speaker Mariano 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 working with the Senate to ensure full passage of these important provisions.

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