Governor of California Gavin Newsome instituted the Universal School Meals Program that offers public school students in the state free lunch.
According to Business Insider, $54 million was invested into the Universal School Meals Program to give 6.2 million public school students the opportunity of free lunch regardless of income for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. An additional $650 million was invested in the program to offer free breakfast and lunch for every student for 2022-2023.
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“Focusing on student mental health and wellness and critical supports like universal school meals and community schools that provide wraparound programs for families will be essential for facilitating a safe return to in-person learning for the students who have suffered so much during the pandemic,” California State Superintendent of Public Instruction said in a statement.
Before the free lunch initiative, families had to make less than $34,000 a year to qualify for free meals and $48,000 in order to qualify for reduced-price meals, according to PBS. Republicans from the Senate Education Committee supported this program as a way to aid families with the high cost of living in California.