By Vinita Verma, California State PTA Health Advocate
AB 558 (Nazarian)
School meals support education by providing nutrition to children. They improve behavior, ability to focus, and academic performance. For some students, school meals are the only meal that they have all day long. Yet, traditional school lunch meals make it hard for children with dietary restrictions or food allergies to make use of the school lunch program. Families with children who are too young to be enrolled at school can have children who face hunger at an even younger age.
California State PTA supports AB 558 – School meals: Child Nutrition Act of 2022. This bill would encourage school districts to offer plant-based meals at schools and also encourages school districts to offer meals to non school-age siblings, half-siblings, and step-siblings of students who use the free or reduced-price lunch program, as well as foster children at schools from first to sixth grade.
California State PTA has a long history of supporting child nutrition in schools and has multiple resolutions which strongly support this bill:
- School Nutrition Programs: Improvement and Expansion (2012)
- Breakfast in Every School (2103)
- Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis in Schools (2014)
- Healthy Lifestyles for All Children (2004)
California State PTA believes that school meals are essential for all children. Ensuring that all children have access to nutritious, healthy meals that meet their dietary needs is essential for their robust development, growth, and education.