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Rhode Island lawmaker debuts universal free meals bill

The state follows Virginia, Washington and others in introducing a universal free meals bill this legislative session.
Students eating lunch in the cafeteria.
Photo: Shutterstock

Rhode Island Representative Justine Caldwell has introduced legislation that would provide children in the state with free lunch at school.

“Every child needs to be fed during the school day. Period,” said Caldwell in a statement. “High-quality, universal lunch in schools is an investment that will pay off in better academic achievement, fewer discipline problems and healthier kids who have a better day at school. Instead of concerning ourselves with which families can or can’t or should pay for it, we should be focusing on how we can seize school lunch as opportunity to improve nutrition and outcomes for an entire generation of growing children.”

Rhode Island follows Virginia, Washington, Minnesota and other states in introducing universal free meals bills this legislative session.

After the expiration of U.S. Department of Agriculture waivers that allowed school nutrition teams to feed all students for free nationwide, some states, such as Nevada, decided to allocate funding to keep offering free meals to students at least temporarily.

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