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Free School Lunch Bill Signed into Law

Late last week, Minnesota Governor Walz signed a bill into law that will provide near-universal free breakfast and lunch to Minnesota students, fulfilling a promise the governor has been teasing for months and which he specifically spoke on when he was sworn into his second term at the beginning of the year.

Signing this bill into law, makes Minnesota one of four states to offer free school meals to students. This is a truly momentous occasion for students in need, lawmakers, and those who have advocated for free school lunch programs, especially in schools comprised of many students from economically-strained households.

Child poverty remains stubbornly high nation-wide in the North Star state at 9% but is even higher among children at 11% statewide. The rate is significantly higher for Indigenous, Black, and Latino children.

This new law will make a huge impact on students who lack access to three square, nutritious meals per day, and there is ample evidence that suggests nutrition and a child’s ability learn are intimately linked. As Darcy Stueber, director of Nutrition Services for Mankato, points out, “providing meals is just another basic necessity of learning.”

We at Community Action have been following this story for months on our “Working Together” blog (A Record Budget Surplus Might Lead to Expansion of Free Lunch Program and Governor Walz Eyes Ending Childhood Poverty). We hope this $400 million dollar investment not only goes a long way in helping eliminate food insecurity for Minnesota’s children, but that it makes a positive impact on children’s ability to grow and learn.

Our Impact This Year

  • People Who Received Utility Bill Assistance

    49,780

  • Children Enrolled in Head Start & Early Head Start

    1,622

  • People Whose Utility Bills Were Lowered Through Home Weatherization

    245

  • Workers Provided with Transportation Support Including Vehicle Loans, Repair Grants, and Transit Passes

    1,743

© 2023 Community Action Partnership of Ramsey and Washington Counties

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