New Jersey government officials have sponsored a resolution from the state's Senate Education Committee that calls on the U.S. Congress to make universal free meals a permanent part of the school day.
The resolution states that families throughout the country are still struggling financially due to COVID-19 and inflation, and Congress should pass legislation that would allow the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to set up a universal free school breakfast and lunch program.
During the height of the pandemic, the USDA issued a series of waivers that allowed all public school students to receive free meals at school. The waivers expired this summer, and since then, some states have earmarked funding to extend free meals for all for an additional school year or to provide free meals to students who qualify for reduced-price ones.
Other states such as Colorado have gone a step further and extended universal free meals permanently.
The School Nutrition Association (SNA) and other industry leaders have also called on Congress to pass legislation promoting universal free meals. The SNA has advocated for universal free meals as part of its annual position paper for the past two years, and food leaders who attended the White House’s Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Health this past September also showed their support for making school meals free for all.