NEW YORK, Sept. 26, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Solving Hunger, a project of Tusk Philanthropies, today announced the results of its 2023 campaigns, concluding with the passage of North Carolina’s budget. Solving Hunger won five of six campaigns in North Carolina, Vermont, New York, and two in Connecticut. This year’s results represent the strong momentum towards school meal funding in states across the nation, with 2024 poised to be one of the most productive legislative sessions ever for children who need food.
Working with statewide organizations and providing them with the additional advocacy, lobbying and communications tools, Solving Hunger spent $1,000,000 to help pass $250,000,000 in incremental state funding to feed 1.3 million children, at an average cost of $192/year per child. This represents a 250x return on investment.
“There are hungry kids everywhere and a growing realization that feeding kids nutritious meals at school is a great investment for schools, families, and communities”, said Bradley Tusk, the Founder of Tusk Philanthropies. “There is tremendous momentum for school meals in 2024, as evidenced by the nine states that have already passed the policy in the last four years. We are hoping more governors and legislators will notice this and follow suit.”
In 2023, Solving Hunger partnered with grantees to help run campaigns on the ground in the following jurisdictions:
- Vermont – Solving Hunger partnered with Hunger Free Vermont on a campaign which made Vermont the sixth state to pass universal school meals, after California, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota and New Mexico. Following the passage of a one-year extension of universal school meals in 2022 to replace the federal pandemic support program that ended last fall, Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott allowed a permanent universal school meals bill to become law in June, guaranteeing that 83,500 Vermont students will eat for free in school.
Tusk said, “The commitment to get kids fed in Vermont was a long road, but extraordinary. It was the perfect campaign, and we were proud to play a role in it.”
- Connecticut – Solving Hunger partnered with End Hunger CT! on two separate campaigns this year that yielded $76 million for hunger children. The first campaign restarted school meals for all Connecticut children via a pandemic program that the state extended. When those funds were exhausted, meal debt soared in Connecticut as families struggled to feed their kids amid high grocery and rising housing costs. School meals for all Connecticut children restarted on March 1, and continued through the 2022-23 school year.
The second campaign set families up for success this current school year by guaranteeing breakfast for all children for the next two years. In a signing ceremony by Governor Ned Lamont in August, Senate President Martin Looney said, “We should move more comprehensively toward free school meals for everyone.”
Tusk, who met with the Governor about school meals this Spring, praised the democratic leadership, and urged them to keep going. “Breakfast for all kids is the first step. By adding lunch in the 2024-25 school year, you will be guaranteeing that kids come to school ready to learn.”
- New York – Solving Hunger partnered with Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids to expand the number of children who are now eating free in school by 284,000. This was accomplished by budgeting $134 million to supplement the existing federal program. Now, 80% of New York state’s kids are being fed in school.
Tusk said, “New York is my home, so I am proud that we are on the road to joining other states who have already adopted universal school meals. This was a great first step, and Speaker Carl Heastie and Andrea Stewart-Cousins deserve credit for making it happen. Now we just need to get the last 20% of the kids, many of whom are living beneath the very low federal income eligibility standards for a family of four, which is only $55,500.”
- North Carolina – Solving Hunger partnered with School Meals for all North Carolina, a project of the North Carolina Alliance for Hunger to allow low-income children in North Carolina who have been paying for their lunch in the reduced-price category, to now receive meals for free. In addition, funds have been made available to onboard eligible schools for the Community Eligibility Program, which feeds all children in a school or a district when 40% of the students qualify for the federal school meals programs, allowing more federal funds to assist children in North Carolina.
Tusk said, “North Carolina Republicans did the right thing. With a small investment to get schools and districts to take advantage of federal dollars that are already available to kids in other states, they really stepped up. We hope that the legislature will decide to do more in the years to come for those kids who aren’t the poorest, but who are still struggling, especially in rural parts of the state.”
Solving Hunger will announce its 2024 grantees in the coming weeks.
Contact: Dani Frese
SOURCE Tusk Philanthropies
Originally published at https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/solving-hunger-announces-five-campaign-wins-in-school-meals-expansion-efforts-as-momentum-grows-for-universal-school-meals-across-the-nation-301938482.html
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