QUINCY, Mass. (WWLP)– Governor Maura Healey paid a visit to an elementary school Thursday to show support for the state’s free lunch program.

Healey and Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll held a news conference at Snug Harbor Elementary School in Quincy Thursday morning. The legislature and Governor included $172 million in permanent state funding to provide universal free school meals for K-12 students in the fiscal 2024 budget.

“We’re making school lunch and breakfast free for all students permanently in Massachusetts,” said Governor Healey. “By delivering universal free meals, this administration is making clear that nothing is more important than ensuring our kids are fed, healthy, and ready to learn and play and grow.” 

“Universal free school meals are an investment in childhood nutrition, ensuring each of our school-aged students has access to the healthy food they need to fuel their learning,” said Lieutenant Governor Driscoll. “This policy is also removing a source of stress from families and schools, leading to one less task for parents to complete in the morning, and making sure no student feels stigmatized or ashamed for accessing the food they need.”  

“Food security is essential for learning, which is why the Healey-Driscoll administration has delivered $172 million for universal school lunch in our first budget,” said Secretary of Education Dr. Patrick Tutwiler. “It’s related to a hierarchy of need—students can’t be focus on their lessons in the classroom if they continue to be hungry. Aligned with our goals to stabilize, heal, and transform our education system, this funding will ensure that students can focus on their classes in school, instead of where their next meal is coming from.” 

The meals program includes one lunch and breakfast including fruit, vegetables and whole grains, as per the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs. Schools can also choose to offer “a la carte” items for a fee. Students must pay if they want a second lunch or breakfast on the same day.

Local News

WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, began broadcasting in March 1953 providing local news, network, syndicated, and local programming to western Massachusetts. Follow 22News on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.