Illinois House Passes Legislation Establishing the “Healthy School Meals for All” Program to Provide Free Breakfast and Lunch to Illinois Students
ROCKFORD - Today, the Illinois House of Representatives passed HB 2471 by a vote of 77 to 26 to create the “Healthy School Meals for All” program. Sponsored by State Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford), the legislation, which received bipartisan support, provides a free breakfast and lunch to all students who need and want one.
“This legislation will help ensure every student has access to healthy food at school, an especially important support for the hundreds of thousands of Illinois children who are experiencing food insecurity,” said State Representative Maurice West. “Giving all children access to free, healthy school meals will improve their health, growth, development, mental health, and academic performance. This bill will also help remove the stigma for children who need breakfast or lunch at school while reducing the burden on families and providing a steady budget for school food service programs. I applaud the amazing advocates who helped get this bill over the finish line in the House, and I look forward to its passage in the Senate.”
Federal school meal waivers provided K-12 students with free school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the waiver expired in June 2022, putting thousands of Illinois children at risk. The bill now goes to the State Senate for consideration.