‘Hunger-Free Schools Act’ passes Washington House of Representatives


OLYMPIA, Wash. — The Washington House of Representatives have passed a bill for schools to provide free meals to students at no cost to the state.

The Hunger-Free Schools Act, House Bill 2660, was sponsored by over two dozen senators from both parties, and provides free breakfasts and lunches for around 7,200 students at 15 more Washington schools.

“Children struggle with hunger in our state for absolutely no reason,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli, the bill’s main sponsor. “We can utilize existing resources at the federal level to qualify more students for free breakfast and lunch, putting Washington state on a path where no child is lunch shamed or made to go without.”

Hungry kids can’t learn and children struggle with hunger in our state for absolutely no reason. Washington schools can…

Posted by Rep. Marcus Riccelli on Monday, February 17, 2020

According to the bill, the federal government will fund school meals for free if a school, or group of schools, has a high percentage of students that meet the requirements for the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). Until recently, many schools have had mixed results trying to qualify for CEP resources.

The Hunger-Free Schools Act would direct the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction to examine participation plans and determine which schools qualify for CEP.

7,200 students across 15 schools in the state would also be automatically included in CEP, including Spokane-area schools Shaw Middle School, Longfellow Elementary and Sheridan Elementary.

“Hungry kids can’t learn and this is a great next step to helping students get the education they deserve,” said Riccelli

The bill passed 97-1 on the House floor, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.