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Hunger Solutions New York and Community Food Advocates Launch Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids Campaign

By May 25, 2022October 7th, 2022No Comments

Hunger Solutions New York and Community Food Advocates have launched a statewide campaign for Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids. We invite you to join us as we work to ensure that all students across New York State have secure, equal access to school meals at no cost.

Add Your Support Here:

Help us ensure that all students across New York have secure, equal access to school meals at no cost.

I Support Healthy School Meals for All

Watch the Campaign Launch Webinar:

Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids
June 14, 2022 at 1pm

Watch Recording Here

Webinar also available in Spanish

Watch Spanish Recording Here

School meals are among the farthest reaching and highest impact anti-hunger programs. To offset growing rates of child food insecurity during the pandemic, the federal government allowed all schools to serve meals at no cost to all students nationwide. As these flexibilities are set to expire at the end of June 2022, New York cannot move backwards to an inequitable, inefficient, and stigmatizing tiered payment system that leaves many behind. Providing free meals for all students — regardless of income — is a proven strategy to reduce food insecurity, improve mental and physical health, support students’ ability to thrive academically, and bolster educational, health, and economic equity.

New York must take action to establish and fund a permanent, statewide Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids program to ensure every student has access to a healthy breakfast and lunch each day. Before the pandemic, 59% of all NYS schools — including New York City, Buffalo, and Rochester — were able to provide free meals to all students using the Community Eligibility Provision, and will continue to after June 2022. Enacting this new policy would close the gap for remaining schools, expanding access to free meals for over 726,000 students across nearly 2,000 schools statewide. A state-level guarantee provides long-term stability for all NYS schools, making their school nutrition programs financially whole, and ensures sustainability for free meals for all future generations of NY students.

We are calling on parents, students, educators, labor, healthcare professionals, anti-hunger organizations, and advocates to join the Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids campaign to ensure free breakfast and lunch for all K-12 students across the state.

Building on a Strong Foundation for Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids

Over the past year, Hunger Solutions New York and Community Food Advocates have advocated alongside New York School Nutrition Association, Equity Advocates, and other key partners to secure Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids in the state budget. Momentum is growing:

  • Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas introduced a bill (A9518) and Senator Michelle Hinchey also introduced a bill (S9144) to establish Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids.
  • More than 150 leading state education associations, anti-hunger groups, child nutrition advocates, and school districts signed on to a letter urging Governor Hochul to include this critical investment in the state budget.
  • NYS Educational Conference Board, a consortium of the 7 leading education associations in the state, called on lawmakers to provide Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids.
  • Other states — including California and Maine — have acted to provide free school meals for all students in their states, building national momentum. New York will join six other states — including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Vermont, Massachusetts, Colorado, and Maryland — with active legislative campaigns for permanent Healthy School Meals for All programs.

Funding for this campaign is made possible by the New York Health Foundation (NYHealth). We thank NYHealth for recognizing this critical moment to secure free, healthy school meals for all students, and funding this campaign to support continued advocacy in our state.

Three Actions You Can Take

  1. Join our efforts — complete this sign-up form to be added to the campaign mailing list and to indicate the type of involvement you and/or your organization want to have. Sign up here.
  2. Share your story. You are a critical voice in this fight. Please share your lived experience with school meals to help capture the real impacts this policy would have on students, families, schools, and communities. Share your story here.
  3. Watch the recording of the Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids kickoff Webinar from June 14, 2022 at 1pm. Watch here. Watch the Spanish recording here.

Sample Tweets

  • ​​New York can and must take action to ensure every student has access to a healthy breakfast and lunch each day. Join the #HealthySchoolMealsForAllNYKids campaign: bit.ly/HealthySchoolMealsNY
  • More than 700K students in New York State lost access to free school meals this school year. Join the #HealthySchoolMealsForAllNYKids campaign in working to secure access to school meals for ALL NYS students. bit.ly/HealthySchoolMealsNY
  • Universal free school meals in NYC increased student participation in school lunch by 26,000 students daily. School meals are a game-changer for schools. Join the fight to include free school meals across NYS in the FY2024 Budget. bit.ly/HealthySchoolMealsNY

About Us

Community Food Advocates logo

Community Food Advocates — Community Food Advocates (CFA) is a New York City nonprofit that advocates to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to healthy, affordable, plentiful and culturally appropriate foods. In 2017, CFA led a coalition of over 200 organizations and elected officials across New York City and State to secure universal free school lunch (UFL) for all of New York City’s 1.1 million public school students. The campaign, Lunch 4 Learning (L4L), has since built on the foundation of city-wide universal free school lunch with high impact policy changes. We are eager to ensure all NYS students are guaranteed free school meals.

Hunger Solutions New York — a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to alleviating hunger — has worked for over thirty years to maximize school meals throughout New York State. Their targeted outreach and technical assistance has supported over 60% of NY schools providing free school meals for all students. Hunger Solutions New York also advocates for federal and state policies to improve access to school meals, and has successfully advanced state policies to eliminate the reduced-price copayment, establish statewide unpaid meal balance policies, and improve access to school breakfast in high-poverty schools.