Building on the Landmark School Meals for All Success
August 16, 2022
SB 364 (Skinner), was, and still is, a bold vision toward ending childhood hunger. A vision which began in early 2021 with Senator Skinner and 31 co-authors from both houses. Since then, California has achieved tremendous success with the passage of School Meals for All last year, making California the first state in the nation to do so, and by investing more than $2 billion towards healthy school meals this year.
This week we are making national history in California as children go back to school knowing that they will have the nourishment they need to learn, grow, and thrive — thanks to overwhelming support of the Legislature and Governor. As one parent recently told us,
“I’m considered middle-class but I barely have any money left over for much at the end of the day and grocery prices have gone up and being a single parent has made things even harder. My child is less stigmatized at school when everyone qualifies and gets free lunch. He mentioned one time that he was embarrassed before to get free lunch but when he saw other kids whose parents he knows make money and work get it he wasn’t embarrassed anymore.”
We aren’t stopping here. Thanks to Senator Skinner’s unwavering commitment and leadership in ending childhood hunger, we’re looking forward to continuing to build on School Meals for All next year by ensuring access to food even when schools are closed for regular breaks and unplanned disasters. We know that summer is the hungriest time of the year and we know how to prevent it.
This momentum that started in California is sweeping the nation, and now five states will be offering universal meals this year. We are supporting Federal legislation, H.R. 3115 by Representative Omar, that has 93 cosponsors (33 from California), and S. 1530 by Senator Sanders, that has 16 cosponsors including Senator Padilla, which would enact permanent national healthy school meals for all.
We know that summer is the hungriest time of the year for children, and we applaud and appreciate summer meal sites that are a critical resource in many communities all across California. BOOST EBT, proposed in SB 364 (Skinner), would compliment summer meal sites by providing families with an EBT card that they can use to purchase food / groceries at stores that accept EBT.
During the COVID-19 Pandemic, we saw how wildly successful the Pandemic EBT program was – and we can now use that as a roadmap for providing permanent EBT benefits for when schools are closed.
We are proud to lead the way from California to achieve the future free of childhood hunger that we know is possible.