California has become the first state in the U.S. to provide free school breakfast and lunch for all schoolchildren, regardless of their family’s financial status. As part of Assembly Bill 130 signed last year by Governor Newson, the state’s Universal Meals program will be implemented in the 2022-2023 school year. The program’s aim is to address childhood food insecurity throughout the state. However, all children will be eligible for free breakfast and lunch regardless of their family’s income status. So, if you’re a parent wondering if school lunch in California is free. The answer is, yes.
According to the California Department of Education website, California’s Universal Meals Program is “designed to build on the foundations of the federal National School Lunch Program.”
States who were previously providing free meals to students as part of the pandemic relief aid will be ending their free meals programs this year. Leaving families scrambling to provide lunch for their children amongst rising inflation and economic instability. Free meal programs have historically been based on family income status and financial needs.
The state of Maine should be the next state to implement a free breakfast and lunch program for school children later this year.
With California’s historic decision to implement free meals for all school-aged children, we can only hope that more states will follow.