Bill To Make School Meals Free To All ME Students Moves To House For Approval
It's no secret that study upon study has shown well fed students = better overall students. Unfortunately, Maine is projected to have a higher level of food insecurity post-pandemic, which means a lot of the state's students are struggling to get access to food.
According to a recent report from the Good Shepard Food Bank,
"For the first time since the pandemic started Feeding America released projections for very low food security, a more severe range of food insecurity that involves reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns. Approximately 85,000 Mainers are estimated to experience very low food security in 2021, up 10 percent from pre-pandemic levels. Maine has the sixth-highest rate of very low food security in the country."
Maine Senate President Troy Jackson has been working to change that, by creating legislation that would make school lunches free for all Maine students, regardless of their family's ability to pay for it.
Aside from making meal accessible to all students, NewsCenter Maine reported last month that one of the other goals of the proposed bill is to remove the stigma of a "free lunch" program, by making it no cost to everyone, therefore enticing more students, who might have been in need but reluctant or embarrassed to take part in the program, to no longer feel singled out.
"LD 1679 would require the state of Maine to pay the difference between the federal requirement for free school breakfast or lunch and the full price of a breakfast or lunch at no cost to students who are ineligible for free or reduced-price meals, thus creating a universal, free school lunch program. "
The bill, LD1679, "An Act To Address Student Hunger through Expanding Access to Free School Meals," is part of Jackson's 2 part "Kids First" plan. According to WGME news, Maine's Senate votes to pass the bill, which will now make it's way to Maine's House of Legislatures this week, for final approval.
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