Join REAP in Supporting the Healthy School Meals For All Act
Free school meals pack a punch. They improve students’ learning readiness, behavior, and health outcomes, address racial disparities, eliminate stigma around free and reduced school meals, and support working families. They also have the potential to strengthen our local economy by creating jobs and bolstering our local agriculture.
The fate of free school meals, meanwhile, faces a reckoning. When COVID-19 forced the closure of schools and childcare providers nationwide in March 2020, the USDA changed the rules governing access to school meals. They ripped away bureaucratic layers and among other moves, made free, healthy meals available to all students, regardless of financial need.
As the June 2022 expiration date for universal free school meals approaches, Wisconsin State Representatives Kristina Shelton and Francesca Hong, State Senator Chris Larson, and WI State Superintendent Dr. Jill Underly have introduced the Healthy School Meals for All Act (LRB 4605), which would permanently provide state aid to reimburse public and private schools that provide free meals to all students for the costs of those meals.
“As a mom, chef and legislator I know first-hand the importance of building community through food. And what must be our core value in Wisconsin is that no child should go hungry because a guardian in their life cannot afford a school meal. All across this state, from our farmers and teachers to our students and school staff, we have learned that we must provide our children with more support during the school day,” Rep. Hong explained in a press release.
REAP supports the Healthy School Meals For All legislation, and we hope you join us in raising our voices for healthy, reliable school meals for all by contacting your legislators today.