Lawmakers aim to end childhood hunger with new, free breakfast and lunch program

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (WWLP) – Several state lawmakers are teaming up to prevent kids from going hungry at Massachusetts schools.

More than 100 legislators at the Statehouse have signed onto a bill that would provide kids at public schools in the Commonwealth with free breakfast and lunch no questions asked. The bill, known as “an act relative to universal school meals,” would require that food options are available to all students at no cost to their families.

The bill would also waive the requirement to sign up in advance and it wouldn’t ask families to provide any income information.

“There is a stigma associated with free breakfast and lunch, I remember that some kids my qualify but they didn’t want to be labeled one of those kids that showed up early to school to get the free breakfast or that they got free lunch,” Rep. Andy Vargas told 22News.

Right now, one in four children in the Commonwealth struggle with hunger. The free breakfast and lunch program would be funded through state education initiatives as well as through a federal reimbursement program.

An educational session was held on the bill Tuesday drawing support from organizations like Project Bread and other local food banks. However, the bill still remains with the Education Committee.

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