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Let's talk about healthy universal school meals

Antoni Shkraba

Let's Talk New Mexico, 02/16 8a: About 71% of New Mexican students qualify for free or reduced-price meals yet some of our children are still going hungry. The Healthy Universal School Meals Act introduced by Democratic Senators Michael Padilla and Leo Jaramillo would give all public and charter school students free access to breakfast and lunch regardless of family income. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham is a supporter of this bill and made it one of her priorities in her State of the State address.

Senate Bill 4 would not only benefit our school children, but also our farmers who would provide healthy, locally grown and nutritional foods. However, some are skeptical about the price tag and whether we can afford to fund it in the years to come. SB4 calls for $30 million every year from the general fund beginning this July, plus more than $75 million over time to build a food system that grows, transports, and serves food to New Mexicans.

On this week’s Let’s Talk New Mexico, we’ll be taking a closer look at the Healthy Universal School Meals Act. If Senate Bill 4 passes, how will it impact our kids, farmers, and educators? Do you support the idea of making healthy meals free to all school kids regardless of income? Will this bill be economically profitable for our state? Email us at LetsTalk@kunm.org or call in live during the show.



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Jeanette DeDios is from the Jicarilla Apache and Diné Nations and grew up in Albuquerque, NM. She recently graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2022 where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Multimedia Journalism, English and Film. She’s currently a part of the Local News Fund Fellowship where she will be working with KUNM-FM and NMPBS during her 9-month fellowship where she will gain hands-on newsroom experience. Jeanette can be contacted at jeanettededios@kunm.org or via Twitter @JeanetteDeDios.
  1. Bill to provide free school meals for every New Mexican child advances