ALBANY, NY — Assemblymember Sarahana Shrestha (D-Esopus) joined colleagues in Albany, on the second day of session, for a press conference to call on the Governor to fund a universal school meals program.
The federal program funding for the program, introduced during the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, expired in June, leaving 726,000 children without school-provided free meals. HSMFA-NY, a coalition of over 240 education and anti-hunger organizations, is calling on Governor Hochul to address child hunger by allocating 0.1% of our budget to feeding our kids. In Assembly District 103, this would provide meals to 7,397 more students across 22 additional schools.“Congress funded this program during the onset of the pandemic and let the funds expire in June,” said Shrestha, “which has left us with a broken means-tested system that leaves out 470,000 students who live in households that make below living wage. Spending just $275 on a student would go a long way in making schools what they should be — a place where children go to flourish. I call on the Governor to include $200 million in the State Budget to provide healthy and free school meals for all.”