Access to healthy food is a human right.
Food is foundational to economic health and stability.
All children should receive free school meals.
Free meals at school and in childcare settings creates equity and community by ensuring that every child has the nutrition they need to learn and to thrive. Sustainable government funding should allow schools and childcare providers to serve healthy meals.
Policies should be evaluated for their impact on diversity, equity & inclusion.
Systemic racism is embedded in many long-standing policies and programs. We are committed to examining systems, policies and practices to ensure that they support racial and ethnic diversity and provide equity and inclusion for people from all different backgrounds and life experiences.
Community voice matters.
The communities we serve need access to the electoral process to ensure their needs are met. Second Harvest will support nonpartisan efforts at the local, state and federal levels to increase access to voting and encourage voter registration.
School meals ensure that all children are nourished so they are ready to learn and to thrive. Universal school meals are a crucial tool to build community. Work can be done at the county, state and federal levels to provide adequate funding and support to school nutrition departments and improve every child’s access to healthy school meals.
- Universal School Meals: At the federal level, Child Nutrition Reauthorization provides an opportunity to fund universal school meals nationwide for the longterm. Waivers provided during the pandemic have allowed all children to access meals at school and have demonstrated the importance of this nutrition. Until universal school meals are the standard, Congress must give U.S. Department of Agriculture the continued authority to issue and extend essential nationwide child nutrition waivers past June 30, 2022.
- California State Support of Universal School Meals: In the 2021–22 legislative session, our collective advocacy resulted in significant state investment in universal school meals, offering every student free breakfast and lunch beginning in the 2022–23 school year. Based on feedback from our school partners, we will advocate for additional funding, infrastructure and administrative flexibility.
- County Support of Universal School Meals: Second Harvest works with our county partners to help local schools access grants for kitchen and food distribution infrastructure.
- Summer and After-school Meal Support: When schools are closed, students still need access to nutrition. Federal programs support summer meals, but they can only be offered in very specific areas at specific times. In addition, there is no option for other planned school closures, such as winter break. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Congress authorized Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer (P-EBT), which provided money on debit cards to families whose children were missing school meals. We will advocate for these nutritional supports for our community.
SNAP is a systemic answer to food insecurity. For every meal provided by food banks, nine are provided through SNAP. SNAP needs to be strengthened and made more accessible at both the state and federal level. Looking forward to 2023, advocacy for a robust farm bill will begin with discussions starting in early 2022.