Healthy School Meals for All Colorado Children

Lauren Banister
September 1, 2022

Pirkei Avot 3:21 teaches us, “Im ein kemach, ein Torah; im ein Torah, ein kemach” — “Without bread there is no Torah; without Torah, there is no bread.” Here, in our Rabbinic code of ethics, we learn that above all else — before we can nourish our minds and souls, before we can pursue an ethical and moral life , and before we can seek knowledge or contribute to society — we must feed our bodies.

Yet, today, millions of Americans around the country are facing food insecurity. For children, this can stunt their  opportunity to grow and prosper. That is why MAZON is proud to support Colorado Proposition FF, Healthy School Meals for All, to provide free school meals for all Colorado children. 

Studies show that free school meals make students more attentive and engaged in the classroom, improve grades and graduation rates, reduce obesity rates and poor health, and increase fruit and vegetable consumption. School meals are the single most effective tool to even the playing field and ensure that every kid has the opportunity to learn on equal footing.

This November, Colorado voters can ensure every child in the state receives a nutritious breakfast and lunch at no cost so that students can focus on school instead of their stomachs. 

“Free school meals for all” have proven to be an invaluable tool to reduce food insecurity. For the past two years, COVID-19 relief funds provided free school lunches for all students, and school districts in Colorado reported serving meals to 20-40% more students — capturing a group of students in need that were not included in the current free and reduced-price school meals program. 

Proposition FF, Healthy School Meals for All, will create a more equitable Colorado by:

  • Providing access to free, nutritious school meals for all students; 
  • Relieving administrators of the cost and time of processing applications;
  • Relieving parents of the stigma and burden of filling out an application;
  • Closing the school meal gap for families who struggle with food insecurity but do not qualify for assistance; 
  • Eliminating lunch shaming since students will no longer be singled out as the “free lunch kid” or denied access to food because their family cannot pay; and
  • Creating sustainable, long-term funding for school meals for all by limiting state income tax deductions for the top 3% of Colorado income earners. 

Healthy School Meals for All is crucial to lower child hunger rates and set children on a path to a healthy future. For several years, MAZON has partnered with organizations in Colorado to advance anti-hunger priorities at the state level. Now, MAZON is proud to endorse the Healthy School Meals for All campaign and launch our programmatic efforts for the fall. 

Here’s how you can get involved…

  • If you are a Colorado voter:
  • If you are a Colorado Jewish community leader, clergy member, educator, or professional:
  • If you represent a national or Colorado-based organization:
    • Show your support for the initiative by endorsing the campaign. No commitment is required beyond lending your organization’s name. 
  • If you believe all children deserve reliable access to school meals but you don’t live in Colorado:
    • Donate to support MAZON’s work in Colorado and across the country.
    • Reach out to MAZON’s organizer, Lauren Banister, at lbanister@mazon.org to discuss advocacy opportunities in your state.
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