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No Kid Hungry California Issues Statement on Governor Newsom’s State of the State Address

Pasadena, Calif. – In reaction to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s state of the state address, No Kid Hungry California Director Kathy Saile today issued the following statement:

“With an unprecedented number of children in California facing hunger as a result of the pandemic, school nutrition programs have been a lifeline for families across the state – but they have also faced tremendous strain. As schools transition back to in-person learning, school meals will continue to play an important role in supporting students’ social, emotional and academic health, and ensuring adequate support for these essential programs will be critical to promoting an equitable recovery.”

Seventeen million kids could face hunger this year in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, including more than 2.2 million right here in California. To support the schools and nonprofits that are distributing meals, No Kid Hungry California has provided more than $8.5 million in grants since the beginning of the pandemic to help ensure all children in California can continue to get the food they need even as they learn at home. Last year, the California State Legislature and Governor Newsom allocated $192 million toward emergency school meals, which remain available to all children age 18 and under.

Yesterday, the California State Assembly recognized the immense contributions of school nutrition workers to feed these children during the pandemic and officially declared March 8–12 as School Breakfast Week. Assembly Concurrent Resolution 38, authored by Assemblywoman Blanca Rubio (D-Baldwin Park) and 72 additional co-authors was unanimously approved.

The text of ACR 38 is as follows:

  • WHEREAS, Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly one in six California children lived in food insecure households, meaning that they did not have consistent access to adequate food; and
  • WHEREAS, The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the economic hardship that many families are facing, especially among communities of color, with 2,200,000 California children potentially facing hunger as a result; and
  • WHEREAS, More than 59 percent of California public school pupils, which is more than 3,500,000 pupils, qualify for free or reduced-price school breakfast, yet are learning virtually to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and meet local public safety regulations; and
  • WHEREAS, Many school nutrition programs have continued to provide vital emergency meals to pupils and their families during the pandemic through innovative models, such as drive-thru operations and delivery services; and
  • WHEREAS, School meals became a lifeline to many children and families, easing the financial strain and uncertainty caused by COVID-19 economic disruptions, and serving as a consistent source of food for pupils; and
  • WHEREAS, School meals will continue to play a critical role in keeping children nourished through the 2020–21 school year and into the foreseeable future; and
  • WHEREAS, School nutrition programs continue to face unique operational challenges this school year as school meal services are adapted to meet safety recommendations and aligned with new models of instruction; and
  • WHEREAS, Eating school breakfast is associated with positive pupil behavioral health and academic performances, such as better test score results, improved concentration, and fewer class disruptions; and
  • WHEREAS, School breakfast participation is also associated with a lower body mass index, which is an indicator of sustainable body fat, a lower probability of being overweight, and a lower probability of obesity; now, therefore, be it
  • Resolved by the Assembly of the State of California, the Senate thereof concurring, That the Legislature hereby proclaims March 8, 2021, to March 12, 2021, inclusive, as School Breakfast Week; and be it further
  • Resolved, That the Legislature recognizes the critical role of school nutrition programs to help provide nutritious food for children who have been facing heightened food insecurity, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic; and be it further
  • Resolved, That the Legislature recognizes the invaluable service of school nutrition staff who have worked tirelessly to help children in their communities access food despite unprecedented challenges; and be it further
  • Resolved, That the Chief Clerk of the Assembly transmit copies of this resolution to the author for appropriate distribution.