$172 Million for Free Lunch used to Improve Learning

HYANNIS – An amount of approximately $172 million dollars is being allocated in the Massachusetts state budget to provide universal school meals for public school students, which officials state will improve overall learning for students.

Officials from around the state like Kim Concra, Nutrition and Food Safety Specialist for the Cape Cod Cooperative Extension, are providing findings that show nutritional meals increase students’ abilities to retain information.

“We know that children who have a nutritious meal will be able to learn much better. Also by offering meals free to everyone it will take away the stigma that is often associated with free meal programs,” Concra said.

Studies done on the topic have shown eating healthy meals has been linked to higher grades, better memory and alertness, and faster information processing.

With at least seven states including California, Colorado, Maine, Vermont, and others already establishing the free meal programs, Concra hopes that Massachusetts can help lead by example for other states in the future.

“One by one, maybe we’ll be able to get more and more states to adopt similar types of practices. I think that would be beneficial for everyone,” said Concra.

Studies also show foods that are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats such as eggs, yogurt, apples and oatmeal keep the body feeling full longer, providing enough energy to focus and stay alert throughout the entire day.

Free meal programs will reportedly save families approximately $1,200 per student, per year, helping not only the students but the parents as well.

About Zachary Clapp

Zack is a graduate from Cape Cod Community College who is an avid sports fan and loves everything radio.  Zack joined the CapeCod.com NewsCenter in 2023.

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