Maryland Might Soon Provide All Public School Children With Free Universal Meals

USA: MARYLAND — Maryland may soon become the ninth state in the US to provide free universal meals to all students enrolled in public schools.

House Bill 696, which was put forth by Delegate Julie Palakovich Carr (D-District 17), would offer free breakfast and lunch to all students beginning in the autumn of 2025, irrespective of their financial situation.

Congress, according to Palakovich Carr, made school meals free for all pupils during the pandemic; however, the provision has since expired, leaving thousands of families in financial hardship.

“Now that we are investing in our public school systems through the blueprint for Maryland’s future, I think it’s important to ensure a world-class education for all Maryland students,” the delegate stated. “I’m a mum, including my son, it’s important kids aren’t hungry and that they are able to focus on learning each day.”

The food and nutrition director for Cecil County Public Schools, Scott Heckert, backed the legislation, stating that school lunches are essential for academic achievement.

Heckert reported, “We have seen an increase in nutrient-dense foods, fruits, and vegetables, as well as improved attendance and a decrease in behaviour referrals.” “Parents of children receiving free meals have told me how much of a relief this is for their family budget,” the speaker said.

The bill calls for $180 million a year. According to Palakovich Carr, the budget is tight this year, and the source of funding is uncertain.

“That trend in terms of finding funding is going to get harder looking ahead at future revenue for the state,” the spokesperson stated. “We’re still working through it; in the near future, we might change course and launch a small pilot programme to serve more students.”

The measure is currently in its very early stages; its hearing was held on February 14. The $180 million required to support the bill, according to Del. Palakovich Carr, is evidence of the necessity and the number of families that it will affect.

By Caleb Anderson

Caleb, a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling, has dedicated his career to bringing the latest news to the public. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to unbiased reporting, He navigates the dynamic world of journalism, covering a wide range of topics from local events to global issues. Caleb's insightful articles reflect his dedication to keeping readers informed and engaged in the ever-evolving landscape of news.

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