Emergency vote to extend free school lunches in Connecticut scheduled for Thursday

On Thursday, lawmakers in Hartford will hold an emergency vote to allow $60 million in federal funds to be used to continue offering the meals through the end of this school year.

News 12 Staff

Feb 8, 2023, 1:32 PM

Updated 490 days ago

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As federal pandemic funding ran out, many schools in Connecticut had to halt making free lunches available to all kids, but the program could make a comeback.
On Thursday, lawmakers in Hartford will hold an emergency vote to allow $60 million in federal funds to be used to continue offering the meals through the end of this school year.
There is still a free lunch program for families who qualify, but people News 12 spoke with say when the wider free lunch program was halted, some students fell through the cracks and ended up going hungry.
"I would think that's really good because all the kids like my friend usually starves because her mom doesn't have enough money for lunch, I usually give her some of my lunch and that kind of helps her a lot," said fourth grader Sofia Bedoya.
State Senate Majority leader Bob Duff sags even if funding is approved Thursday, the money would probably not reach schools until next month.
"We are just trying to see that through the rest of the school year because we have seen the benefit of making sure kids are fed," said Duff. "We have the food, we have the money, let's make sure these kids are fed."
Sixth grader John Distasio says he thinks free lunches will help students stay focused in their classes.
"I think kids will be more calm, they will be focused because they won't be hungry, they will have full stomachs, they will have energy from the food," he said.
Art teacher Marc Maigman says previously under the free lunch program, students participated more, and it helped their overall performance throughout the day.
"They were able to engage and be more creative and innovative," said Maigman.
Some cities, including Norwalk and Bridgeport, still qualify to offer free lunches to everyone.


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