Free for all California students: Meals at least twice a day

Thanks to a state initiative launched during the pandemic, students in public schools across California can continue to receive at least two free meals a day at school this academic year.

under california universal food programAll public school students who are in transitional kindergarten through class 12 are eligible for free breakfast and lunch, regardless of their parents’ income. The Los Angeles Unified School District is providing even more support to students by providing three free meals a day.

California is the first state to implement free school meals for students served by public school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, whether or not they are eligible National School Lunch Program Free or low cost meals.

State launched a universal food effort last yearThe federal government is picking up most of the tab. this year, State Law Public schools (including charters) are required to offer all students two “nutritionally adequate school meals” per school day, with state taxpayers paying the bill.

The Los Angeles Unified School District says that more than 81% of its students come from families who qualify for the federal school meal program and are experiencing food insecurity. Statewide, an estimated 60% of public school students qualify.

Before the pandemic, LA integrated families with income between $27,560 and $39,220 had to apply for National School Lunch Program 30 days before the start of the school year to qualify for subsidized meals. But district officials argue that eligibility rules do not account for the city’s high cost of living, preventing many families from getting the help they really need.

The disruptions caused by COVID-19 have led many school districts to start offering free meals without any strings attached.

While school campuses were closed during the first pandemic wave in 2020, many school districts continued to provide free meals to students through the First Coronavirus Response Act to families. The law allowed the US Department of Agriculture to issue exemptions to schools across the country, making it possible for them to provide free meals to children who were not on campus.

LA Unified went a step further In collaboration with the Red Cross, Establishment of 60 sites In March 2020 where families can get two free meals a day for their children regardless of need. When the next school year began that September, the state used its budget surplus and federal pandemic aid to fund free meals for any student regardless of income level at all public schools.

Now, with the introduction of a state-mandated universal meal program, parents will ensure that their children get at least two free, full meals in schools per day without incurring the cost of preparing breakfast and lunch for them. Fallen. All students will be automatically enrolled in the program, although students will not be required to participate. Instead, food will be served to the demanding students.

Café LA, the food service division of LA Unified, says it currently exceeds USDA requirements for healthy and nutritious food. Its daily intake is low sodium, contains no trans fats, nitrates or sulfites, and includes fresh fruits and vegetables, the district says.

students recently tasted test A meatball sub, a turkey, ham and cheese croissant, and a mango smoothie, among other items.

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