Sen. Gillibrand, local officials make case for permanent free meals for all school students

Local elected officials are pushing for permanent free school meals regardless of a family’s income.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY) and others to focus on providing free breakfast, lunch and dinner to all students.
The goal of the bill is to eliminate school meal debt.
The proposed Universal School Meal Program Act would deliver permanent relief to millions of food-insecure families.
Former principal and Rep. Jamaal Bowman says the move will benefit thousands of students.
According to the Food Research and Action Center, the school breakfast program services just over 50% of the low-income students who are enrolled in school.
There are children who also need free or reduced school meals who are not certified to receive them.
Gillibrand says the pandemic has made it even harder to families to afford meals, even with programs in place to help with food insecurity.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved the plan to continue to provide free school meals through 2022 and will extend the Electronic Benefit Transfer program, but officials want a more permanent solution.