By Nicole Melia and Melissa Froelich
Advocates for free breakfast for Pennsylvania school children went to the state capitol earlier this month to ask the legislature to consider a new bill for universal school meals including lunch.
What we feed our children makes a huge difference. It’s why there’s a diversity of voices speaking up. From food service directors to farmers and manufacturers. From parents to representatives of school districts. We all want to engage with legislators over the future of the way our young people eat in school.
Research shows that school meals provide the best diet quality of all major food sources in the United States, without disparities for those of lower household income.
It’s about more than breakfast. According to the National Farm to School Network, nine states have now enacted universal meals policies, which provide free meals to all students regardless of household income. Additionally, 16 states have enacted policies that support local food purchasing in schools, such as local food incentive programs or grants for local food procurement.
Here in Pennsylvania, we have the chance to be at the forefront of this new movement. Despite the success of the free breakfast program, there is still hunger in Pennsylvania that needs to be addressed.