The article, “Grocery store booze, gun penalties and vanishing texts among issues unlikely to pass Maryland legislature after crossover day” (March 22), lists several bills affecting different aspects of the lives of Marylanders, but among those not listed is a critical bill affecting hundreds of thousands of Maryland families — healthy school meals for all Maryland students.
Among the policy changes made due to the pandemic, Maryland — like many states — utilized available U.S. Department of Agriculture waivers to provide meals to all students at no cost. This helped eliminate the stigma around participation in school meals and the school meal debt issues that many students and families often face. Furthermore, it meant that school nutrition services could focus on meal quality, knowing that every meal was fully reimbursed.
Without congressional action, these critical waivers are set to end in June. Several states have passed legislation to ensure all children in their state have permanent access to school meals at no charge. In Maryland, legislation was proposed to build a bridge to keep the policy in place for the next school year. The fact that Maryland’s legislature has been unable to move forward on this critical health and economic support for the over 880,000 students in every jurisdiction in our state is a sad state of affairs. We are missing a critical opportunity to invest in our state’s future.
Michael J. Wilson, Baltimore
The writer is director of Maryland Hunger Solutions.
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