Monday, August 2, 2021


Hundreds of thousands of Medi-Cal recipients are paying monthly premiums when they donít have to; Dr. Fauci predicts the pandemic will get worse.


The Texas voting rights fight gets star power; lawmakers stage a sit-in as the eviction moratorium expires; and Senators work overtime on infrastructure.

MN Campaign Launches for Universal Free School Meals


Tuesday, March 23, 2021   

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Transportation and learning supplies are among the things to which all K-through-12 students can have access. In Minnesota, there's a push to add no-cost breakfast and lunch to the list.

A coalition of eighteen groups wants state lawmakers to pass legislation to provide universal free meals for students, no matter their family's income.

Leah Gardner, Policy Director for Hunger Solutions Minnesota, said the pandemic has left in one in six children in the state facing food insecurity, and one-in-four doesn't qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.

A temporary spike in federal aid allowed for expanded access, but Gardner argued the state needs to make it permanent.

"Schools and families will experience hardship if we end up going backwards, to what we think is a broken model," Gardner asserted.

She pointed to rising lunch debts, creating situations where students can't eat because they're running a balance.

Generally, opponents question providing these resources to kids from wealthier families.

Supporters of universal free meals also back a separate bill to leverage federal resources to offer the free meals in qualifying districts, which gets a hearing on Thursday.

Backers said the separate measure is a good first step in helping students who lack nutritional options.

Heather Alden, social worker for St. Paul Public Schools and a member of the Minnesota School Social Workers Association, feels the overall approach has gained more acceptance in the past year.

"Where some people may have felt like, 'This isn't my story, this is for someone else's story,' it has become more everyone's story," Alden explained.

She added providing food to all students helps ensure they're better able to learn, no matter whether they can afford school meals.

The bill for universal meals for all Minnesota students would require the state to provide more than $150 million dollars in funding each year, when combined with federal aid.

Disclosure: Hunger Solutions Minnesota contributes to our fund for reporting on Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Livable Wages/Working Families. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

get more stories like this via email
Some tenants' advocates would like Virginia's new budget proposal for American Rescue Plan funding to include money for low-income renters to hire lawyers for eviction cases. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

RICHMOND, Va. - Virginia's General Assembly Special Session begins today to budget more than $4 billion in federal COVID relief funds, and advocates …

Social Issues

ROSLINDALE, Mass. - A new report finds Massachusetts residents would rather repair electronic devices than send them to landfills, but manufacturers …

Social Issues

HELENA, Mont. - COVID-19 is underscoring the importance of ensuring that people's estates are in order, but estate planning can be be tricky for …

New Mexico Voices for Children says, as in many states, families of color in New Mexico were hit hard by the pandemic, in terms of school closures and job losses. (

Social Issues

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Pandemic fallout still has U.S. states clawing their way back to normalcy, and New Mexico believes its decision to provide more …

Social Issues

CONCORD, N.H. - New polling finds many New Hampshire voters think it's important that wealthy individuals and corporations pay what's described as …

A new pilot program in Texas is teaching college students about the agriculture industry and career options they might not otherwise have considered. (ionlfox/Pixabay)

Social Issues

AMARILLO, Texas - The American Farm Bureau Federation hosts more than 100 college level chapters across 35 states, but this is the first time its …

Social Issues

ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. - As activists mark more than 100 days of protest since the April 21 death of Andrew Brown Junior - killed outside his Elizabeth …

Health and Wellness

GREENSBORO, N.C. - Local health departments that rely heavily on Advanced Practice Registered Nurses say the costly contract requirement that they be …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021