HB 1491 would help more students receive free meals at school

Urge legislators to pass this bill and help kids.

JSSP Letter to Editor

My experience with food insecurity began in 2009, and from then on, we benefited from reduced-price lunches for the next seven years. Over that time, my mom worked her way up the ranks at her job.

In 2016, when I was a junior in high school, my mom got the promotion she had worked so hard for, but that raise came with setbacks. We no longer qualified for reduced-price lunch, and there were three of us in school at the time. Fifteen meals a week at full price added up faster than we could count and with living expenses and necessary health care, we didn’t have enough to make ends meet anymore. By the end of the year, we had a negative meal balance of around $1,000 and not for lack of trying to keep up. My mom and stepdad worked hard to pay that over the summer so I could start senior year with a clean slate, but senior year was even more expensive.

Four days before graduation, my principal approached me, telling me that if I didn’t bring a $700 check to school the next day, I wouldn’t walk on Sunday — despite being a model student by any measurement. In a class of 16, this would’ve been noticeable and led to immense shame and embarrassment.
To protect children in similar situations, there is a solution — passing HB 1491 which would allow more of them to receive free school meals. Call your legislators and urge them to pass this bill, for the kids.

Gades is Miss Bonanazaville 2023.

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