skip to main content

Friday, June 2, 2023

play newscast audioPlay

A Wisconsin group criticizes two of its members of Congress, a new report says the Phoenix area cannot meet its groundwater demands, and Nevada's sporting community sends its priorities to the governor.

play newscast audioPlay

The Senate aims to get the debt limit spending bill to President Biden's desk quickly, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis makes a campaign stop in Iowa, and a new survey finds most straight adults support LGBTQ+ rights.

play newscast audioPlay

Oregon may expand food stamp eligibility to some undocumented households, rural areas have a new method of accessing money for roads and bridges, and Tennessee's new online tool helps keep track of cemetery locations.

State on Track to Roll Out School Meal Program

play audio
Play

Monday, May 8, 2023   

Colorado is one step closer to ensuring all kids can access healthy food at school regardless of their ability to pay, after Gov. Jared Polis signed Senate Bill 221 into law.

The measure creates an account for funds collected for the program, which was approved by voters in 2022, and includes revenues from ending state tax deductions for people earning $300,000 a year or more.

Nicholas Marquez, community organizer for Hunger Free Colorado, said the move is an important step for rolling out the new program in the fall.

"Healthy School Meals for All is very important, to not only the kids we're going to be able to feed, which is 60,000 or more with this program, at no cost to the families," Marquez explained. "It's also important for our local farms and ranchers that could explore a new market."

A similar free meals program installed during the pandemic saw a significant increase in the total number of students participating in school meal programs. The federally-funded program expired in September. Until the program's official rollout, families must apply for free or reduced price school meals and meet certain income requirements.

So far, 90 school districts have opted into Healthy School Meals for All, but some remain on the fence, largely due to bureaucratic hurdles to access federal dollars. Marquez noted many nonprofits are working with the Colorado Department of Education to help districts overcome those barriers.

"When it's fully implemented, the hope is that we can minimize the need for applications for free or reduced lunch," Marquez emphasized. "That has caused some confusion with some school districts."

The second year of the program will give school districts that have created a local food advisory council funding to purchase food directly from local farmers and ranchers, and Marquez is reaching out to communities across the state to help get the process underway.

"The local food purchasing piece of this program will really help stimulate rural economies," Marquez stressed. "It will help grow small and mid-sized food producers. It is also a way for us to ensure that foods in school remain minimally processed and also healthy."

Disclosure: Hunger Free Colorado contributes to our fund for reporting on Children's Issues, Health Issues, Hunger/Food/Nutrition, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


get more stories like this via email
Almost all departments in Connecticut schools saw shortages in 2022, following a long-standing national trend. A 2022 American Federation of Teachers report found before the COVID-19 pandemic, almost 300,000 teachers were leaving the profession each year. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

As the school year ends, Connecticut's teacher shortage seems to have only worsened. In March, school districts across the state reported having 2,60…


Social Issues

play sound

A Muslim rights group is taking the Kent County Sheriff's Office to court for forcing a Michigan woman to remove her hijab for a booking photo…

Social Issues

play sound

The Keystone State's general election is less than six months away and a nonpartisan, grassroots organization is already getting the word out to …


With the debt-ceiling debate winding down, Congress faces future budget battles, including the Farm Bill reauthorization this fall. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

play sound

This week's debt ceiling deal saw federal policymakers compromise on budget-related matters, but a new awareness campaign from a Wisconsin grassroots …

Environment

play sound

Offshore wind in New York and New Jersey is becoming a large contributor to job growth. New York's offshore wind investments are slated to create …

Sarah Van Loon, Midwest regional director for the American Jewish Committee, said it is incumbent upon all of us to teach children about the Holocaust. (Adobe stock)

Social Issues

play sound

Hoosiers could play a pivotal role in pushing back against a surge of hate and violence against Jews in America. Nearly two-thirds of all …

Environment

play sound

The Nevada hunting and fishing community is sharing its top 10 conservation priorities for 2023 with Gov. Joe Lombardo's office, as they seek to …

Environment

play sound

In Yellowstone National Park, 30,000 acres are protected from mining by Congressional order, but there is a sliver left unprotected, and a Montana …

 

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