New Mexico Governor Michelle Grisham has included funding for universal free meals in her fiscal year 2024 executive budget recommendation.
The proposed budget includes $30 million to provide free school meals to all students in the state, as well as an additional $20 million to support school kitchen infrastructure improvements.
New Mexico currently covers the cost of school meals for students who qualify for reduced-price meals.
After the expiration of the U.S. Department of Agriculture child nutrition waivers that allowed schools across the nation to feed every student for free, many states have allocated funding to continue offering universal free meals, at least for the current school year.
Support for universal free meals continues to grow among lawmakers, school nutrition professionals and food industry leaders.
The School Nutrition Association’s recently released 2023 Position Paper advocates for Congress to implement universal free meals nationwide. At the state level, New York lawmakers joined education, anti-hunger, nutrition, health and equity advocates at the state capitol earlier this week to call on Governor Kathy Hochul to include funding for universal free meals in the state’s fiscal year 2024 budget.