Approximately 20% of Californians struggle with food security and do not know where their next meal will come from. As inflation, rising food prices, and economic uncertainty are further highlighting inequality in households, California leaders are taking action through the Universal Meals program.
Nicholas Filipas, the spokesperson for the California Department of Education states, “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."
California will be the first state offering free breakfast and lunch to all students regardless of family income. Students will be automatically enrolled, however, they will not be required to participate. The Universal Meals program is state and federally funded as a part of Assembly Bill 130 and nutrition departments across the state will receive as much federal funding as necessary to feed its students. This is a big step for school districts and for students, as health and equity are imperative.