Pittsburgh, Pa. − September 9, 2022 − Following Governor Wolf’s announcement that breakfast will be provided to Pennsylvania students for free this school year, Senator Williams released the following statement and call to action.
“I’m overjoyed that students will continue to have access to free daily breakfast at school, a continuation of the federal program that provided free breakfast and lunch to students the last two school years. It takes a village to tackle an issue as impactful as food security for our children. Keeping students fed, nourished, and ready to learn is vital to their health and education. These investments in school meals relieve the pressure on our families as grocery prices rise and ensure all students can access nutritious food without shame or stigma. I’m grateful for all the work being done to keep students from going hungry.”
The Governor’s action today will only be in place for the continuation of the ‘22-23 school year. For this benefit to continue, the General Assembly must pass legislation. In August Senator Williams circulated a co-sponsorship memorandum to her colleagues that would provide free school meals – breakfast and lunch – to all students. That legislation was formally introduced today, providing time for it to be referred and voted on during Senate Session on September 20.
Last month, Senator Williams and Democratic colleagues on the Senate Education Committee sent a letter to Governor Tom Wolf and Acting Secretary of Education Eric Hagarty asking the Administration to take any steps available to extend access to free school meals for all students for the upcoming school year. This action is supported by the School Nutrition Association of Pennsylvania (SNAPa). Their President, Megan Schaper, wrote a letter to the editor last month applauding this action, saying “The past two years have shown us how students and educators benefit when school meals are free for all kids. School meals reduce childhood hunger, decrease childhood obesity, support learning and contribute to positive mental and physical health.” You can read the full letter at: Letters: Mastriano is the elite’s candidate for governor; School meals a wise investment.
“Whether we’re helping a student who forgot their lunch at home, a parent struggling with the loss of a job, or a family just trying to make ends meet, ensuring that every student has access to breakfast and lunch with no shame or stigma is one of the most commonsense ways we can help our kids be ready to learn every single day.”
Recent coverage of Senator Williams’ proposed legislation:
- Pennsylvania lawmaker pushing for free school meals for all students in Commonwealth (CBS News, 8/18/22)
- City and State PA Lindsey Williams calls for universal free school meals as pandemic-era meals provision ends (City and State PA, 8/29/22)
- Legislation introduced to provide free meals to all students at school (WTAE, 8/18/22)
- State bill introduced to continue free meals in Pennsylvania public schools (The Daily Item, 8/19/22)