On Thursday, the Minnesota House passed a bill 70-58 guaranteeing free lunch and breakfast to all Minnesota students, regardless of income requirements set by a federal program. It’s a move advocates say will reduce child hunger and ensure no kid falls through the cracks.
The federal government pays for free or reduced price meals, but there are income limits for those who qualify. Under this bill, the state would pick up the tab for the difference of covering everyone else, which is estimated to be $388 million in the next two year budget.
One in four food insecure children haven’t been able to qualify for support under current guidelines. This comes at a time when utilization of local food shelves have soared to new heights, increasing by 50%.
A separate bill that passed unanimously Thursday night would provide $5 million in emergency funding to support food shelves statewide so they have supply that meets the record demand.