New proposal aims to make school meals free in Michigan

Published: Sep. 19, 2023 at 7:56 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -We’ve all heard the saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Now an effort at the State Capitol hopes to make sure no student goes without healthy meals.

“It really evens it out for all children so that they have the possibility of getting a full meal each day during the school day,” said Hanne Hoffman.

A full meal consisting of breakfast and lunch. It’s something parents like Hanne Hoffman say kids deserve without any barriers like not having enough money.

“I can see that if my kids have low blood sugar, they haven’t eaten enough, they get kind of almost impossible to handle,” said Hoffman. “So I cannot imagine having a classroom where you might have from 1 to 10 kids who didn’t have lunch who had just sugar.”

Hoffman has kids attending Okemos schools. She says having access to free meals is paramount for kids.

“Having food throughout the day or at least morning and lunch is helping them to have the energy to stay focused in school,” said Hoffman.

In a Senate education committee hearing Tuesday, members of the American Heart Association, No Kid Hungry Michigan and The School Nutrition Association of Michigan gave testimony in support of the new policy.

While Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed a healthy meals for all law, many are concerned about what will happen when the money runs out at the end of the school year.

“We want to ensure that students are fed and fed healthy meals on a year-to-year basis,” said Collin McDonough, American Heart Association. “The problem is if we continue to do this through the budget cycle, at any time this program could be ended and we could get right back to where we started.”

The proposal would provide funding for the free meal program for future school years. Something Hoffman says there’s a need now and in the future.

“All our children should have the same access to the same kind of resources,” said Hoffman.

The Senate Education Committee heard testimony on the bill on Tuesday. So far, a vote on the issue hasn’t been scheduled.

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