Last week, Senator Sal DiDomenico teamed up with Project Bread, a nationally recognized anti-hunger organization, to launch a statewide campaign to pass his Universal School Meals bill, An Act relative to universal school meals. This legislation, sponsored by DiDomenico, would provide free breakfast and lunch to every child in a Massachusetts school. Senator DiDomenico was also joined by Representative Andy Vargas, who sponsors the bill in the House, dozens of elected officials, anti-hunger advocates, educators, and a video message from Congressman Jim McGovern.
Thankfully, schools across the state have been providing Universal School Meals throughout the pandemic because costs and paperwork for this program were temporarily footed by the federal government. In 2022, federal support for the program was cut off, but Senator DiDomenico secured enough funding in last year’s state budget to continue funding free school meals throughout the Commonwealth for the current school year. The Senate and House must pass the Universal School Meal bills (SD1013 and HD766) in order to continue providing free breakfast and lunch at our schools indefinitely.
“We have heard time and again from educators, advocates, and parents, that kids cannot learn when they are hungry,” said Senator DiDomenico, the lead sponsor of the Senate bill and Assistant Majority Leader of the Massachusetts Senate. “Providing free breakfast and lunch in schools will empower all our students to study, focus, and live up to their full potential. It is past time, in the year 2023, that we finally pass my commonsense bill into law and ensure no child will ever go hungry in a Massachusetts school again.”
This program has been a massive success in Massachusetts over the past two school years. Over 50,000 more students were eating lunch daily when costs were lifted, which allowed them to focus on class and relieved a financial burden from their parents. This is a crucial program especially as costs for housing, transportation, healthcare, and more have been rising. Passing this legislation into law is critical for the wellbeing of our children and working families throughout the Commonwealth.