The California Universal Meals program allows for district nutrition programs to receive the necessary funding to provide free breakfast and lunch to all public school students, regardless of income status. According to Nicholas Filipas, spokesperson for the California Department of Education, “Building on the historic budget investments for our California students and schools, Universal Meals is one of seven key pillars for transforming schools designed to help students heal, recover, and thrive while maximizing this once-in-a-generation opportunity to break the cycle of educational inequity, including nutrition insecurity”. All lunch debts have also been forgiven for previous outstanding balances on student accounts. Some school districts, such as Sacramento City Unified (SCUSD), have been providing most if not all of their students with free meals since the start of the pandemic.

Temporary free lunch programs were offered at districts across the state during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic when students began returning to school. Filipas remarks, "With the start of the new school year, California has expanded the existing state meal mandate, and now each school day, public school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools will make available at no charge/cost to all students (regardless of their individual eligibility) breakfast and lunch”. California's Universal Meals legislation extends these free lunch programs for students indefinitely and indiscriminately. Students at SCUSD were also not being denied food regardless of whether or not they were able to pay for school meals. District nutrition programs are federally funded separately from the school district. These departments are reimbursed by the state for every student that is provided free meals for the cost of the food, resources and labor.

Now that school breakfast and lunch will be free to all at California public schools, nutrition departments at SCUSD and across the state will receive as much federal funding as is necessary to feed its students. More information and frequently asked questions can be found through the California Department of Education or by contacting local school district offices. In other news, we now have a total of 21 states that were authorized by waiver to send out additional $95 SNAP emergency allotments to residents for the month of September. And the list is as follows. As you know, each state has their own unique dates for receiving their benefits. For example, in Illinois, there’s actually a table where they show you what the regular emergency allotment dates are, alongside what the new September dates are going to be. So you’ll know exactly which old date to ignore and which new date to look out for, for receiving your benefits in the upcoming month.

5 views0 comments