California is the first state in the nation to permanently adopt free breakfast and lunch for all K-12 students. We are grateful for California's leadership and the 200+ organizations that advocated to create the largest free school meal program in the United States.
June 29, 2021 - (Sacramento, CA) - California is the first state in the nation to permanently adopt free school meals for all K–12 students after the Legislature and the Governor came to an agreement on a 2021–22 operating budget that will reduce child hunger, support essential school nutrition workers, and bolster the state’s agricultural sector, according to a coalition of more than 200 organizations
representing health, education, labor, agriculture, and food banks.
When classrooms in California reopen for the fall term, all 6.2 million public school students will have the option to eat school meals for free, regardless of their family’s income.
Governor Newsom’s $262 billion budget provides $54 million for the coming school year, supplementing federal funding through June 2022. Starting in the 2022-23 school year, California will spend $650 million annually to provide free school meals to all public school students
As San Diego Unified School District’s nutrition services director for almost 19 years, I knew our students were still going to need food when our schools closed due to the pandemic in March 2020. The district has provided over 30 million free meals to children since then. Thankfully, federal waivers allowed all school meals to be free during the pandemic, providing a reliable source of nutrition for students during a tumultuous time. However, the concern for many in our community remained because the economic struggle some families are facing will continue: What will happen once those waivers expire?
Let's make free school meals for all permanent in California
One of the best ways to help Fresno County schoolkids learn? Feed them free school meals
The pandemic has made school lunch free for all public school students. Advocates are hoping to make the change permanent.
State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, introduced a bill that could give CA public school students access to free meals.
As students gradually return to classrooms, advocates and lawmakers say it’s more important than ever to provide free meals in schools