Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation Tuesday extending the state’s free school lunch program for all students through the end of the academic year.
The state will shift funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act into the Free Meals for Students program.
Lamont, a Democrat, said the move will ensure that all students in Connecticut have equal access to free lunch, regardless of socioeconomic status.
The funding for the school lunch program was set to expire between last November and February of this year.
State Rep. Gary Turco, a Democrat who represents Newington and New Britain, said he’s proud of Connecticut for stepping up and providing $60 million for all Connecticut school districts.
Turco said that when students are hungry, they can’t learn as well.
“When you have a universal program and you make sure every child eats, it actually helps the lower-income students to ensure they were eating too,” Turco said.
He also said participation for lower-income students went up because the program eliminated the stigma some children felt about receiving a free meal.
This story was first published Feb. 14, 2023 by Connecticut Public.