Healthy School Meals for All Montgomery

Montgomery County Council

Since 2020, USDA has been providing universal free school meals to all public school students in the U.S. as part of pandemic relief. This has made a huge difference for students, including in our county, by:

  • Increasing participation in school meal programs

  • Reducing stigma for those participating in school meals

  • Shortening cafeteria lines

All of this could go away on July 1, 2022, if Montgomery County doesn’t act now. The waivers that have created universal free school meals EXPIRE ON JUNE 30.

Extend the universal free meals program for all schools in the county, and commit county funding for any school that is not covered by the state or federal government program.

To: Montgomery County Council
From: [Your Name]

Montgomery County Council Members and MCPS BOE, I urge you to ACT NOW for food equity by supporting Healthy School Meals for All in Montgomery County.

10,000 of our children are about to lose access to school meals on July 1, 2022

Healthy School Meals for All Montgomery allows any student, who wants or needs a school meal, access at no cost to their family. The federal government has waived income eligibility requirements for all students to qualify for free school meals, but these waivers expire soon. Waivers have guaranteed students a healthy breakfast and lunch at school and have reduced the stigma attached to free meals. As Montgomery County recovers from the pandemic, we must ensure that all kids continue to have access to the most basic necessities for learning.

Healthy School Food Maryland®, working with MCCPTA and the Black and Brown Coalition for Educational Equity & Excellence, asks the Montgomery County Council to allocate funding for MCPS to continue providing free school meals in all MCPS schools to any child who wants or needs one.

The federal government will continue to reimburse schools for meals, BUT schools only get paid back when kids actually take the meals. The difference between the federal reimbursement and the cost of the meal is all the county would need to cover. Before the pandemic, participation rates were lower primarily because of cost and stigma. Higher participation rates result in higher overall federal revenue for MCPS.

We CAN do this. We can afford it. By making an investment now, we can provide higher quality food and ensure our kids get the nutrition they need.