The State Senate placed a proviso in their budget that would allow public school students access to free school meals. Proviso 1.68 would require schools to provide free meals to all students who are eligible under the Community Eligibility Program; this would have a drastic impact on that reported child hunger rate, while also benefiting students academically, behaviorally, and socially. This proviso also enforces schools may not penalize or identify students for any accrued lunch debt. This Proviso complements but is not the same as the active Senate Bill we have asked you to support. Both measures are important and a part of the process to make certain child hunger is curbed. This proviso was not included in the House budget, so we need your help to ensure it gets approved by your representatives!
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Support Senate Budget Proviso 1.68 to address student hunger
I am one of your constituents and I am writing to you today to address child hunger in our state. According to Feeding America, over 153,000 children (that is 1 in 4 children) in South Carolina go hungry daily. I am asking for your help to curb child hunger in the state of South Carolina by supporting Senate Proviso 1.68. This proviso addresses student hunger, which has adverse effects on students’ ability to learn and develop.
Research shows that when students are properly fed, the benefits are bountiful. Under Proviso 1.68, schools would have to ensure students who are qualified and eligible for free school meals through the Community Eligibility Program receive 2 free school meals a day; this would have a drastic impact on that reported child hunger rate, while also benefiting students academically, behaviorally, and socially.
Proviso 1.68 will also ensure that schools stop the practice of lunch shaming kids whose meal accounts are in debt. From the Upstate to the Lowcountry, we have heard and read about school districts penalizing children over their account status by taking away field trips, the ability to walk at graduation, and more. Students do not have control over their meal account standing, and therefore, should not be held responsible – this piece of the proviso is vital and must be included in the final budget as well.
Today, I am asking you to approve the Senate Budget Proviso 1.68 that would give this meal access to students across South Carolina and ensure that it is part of the final budget.
As the General Assembly works to make lives better for all in our state, Proviso 1.68 offers a solution to a well-documented problem in South Carolina. Please do all you can to ensure Senate Proviso 1.68 gets approval in the House and that it is part of the approved budget. South Carolina children and their families need you to be their champion. Thank you.