LAUSD leaders push healthy meals for kids

Los Angeles Daily News

By Marianne Love

California First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom, education leaders and a dozen parents held a roundtable press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Dec. 7, focused on the state’s School Meals for All initiative, at which she said that schools “play a crucial role in feeding California children, and students who eat at school typically consume more than half of their daily calorie intake from school meals.”

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho said during the lively discussion, “The growling stomach against the hungry mind — that’s not a good combination” and added, “A hungry child will not learn.”

The roundtable, including State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, met in the auditorium of John Liechty Middle School in downtown L.A. to discuss the state’s efforts. Siebel Newsom said that providing free meals for all of California’s children impacts their futures, providing them “access to nutritious, delicious, locally sourced food that is prepared with care to nourish growing minds and bodies.”

After noting that many students in California get more than half of their daily calories from school meals, she added, “That’s why I’m so committed to expanding California farm-to-school programs to ensure that students have access to these fresh local fruits and vegetables, while strengthening connections between farmers and agriculture and local schools.”

Every student attending a public school in California is now eligible for two free meals each school day. Proponents say the universal free meals remove the stigma and shame that unfolds on cafeteria food lines between those who pay for their meals and those who do not pay — and whose families may experience hunger and food insecurity…..

Kat Taylor, a philanthropist associated with the School Meals for All coalition, said, “Our ongoing and healthy success with school meals … depends on big-tent, public-private partnerships between government, farmers, schools, labor, philanthropists and others all working together to make healthy school meals permanently available to all K-12 students.”

Taylor added, “Such a broad coalition realizes, when we seek change together, we can achieve all of our individual goals.”

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