California’s free lunch program will make history

One of the lasting legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic is the expansion of free nourishment for California’s children.

When schools reopen this fall, all 6.2 million public school students will be eligible for a free school lunch, regardless of income. It will be the largest free lunch program in the nation to date.

“This is so historic. It's beyond life-changing," Erin Primer, Director of Food Services for the San Luis Coastal Unified School District, told the Associated Press.

The program was made possible by a massive budget surplus. It is also owed to the prioritization of school meals that occurred after the pandemic hit. COVID-19 revealed the high demand for free food. Grab-and-go meal programs in shuttered school parking lots were wildly successful and laid the groundwork for something more permanent.

Read more about California’s historic school lunch program here