Every Child Deserves a Healthy Start to the School Day


Our Vision for Hunger-Free Schools

We envision universal school meals for every child, where school meals are free for all K-12 students in Oregon and in every state. 

Every child deserves a healthy start in life. Healthy meals at school help kids learn, grow, and thrive. But the reality is that too many kids in Oregon experience hunger and food insecurity. With one in every four children in the state of Oregon being food insecure, many families rely on school meals for their nutritional needs. 

The Hunger-Free Schools initiative, launched in 2018, works to expand access to school meals through state and federal policy advocacy. Hunger-Free Oregon led the coalition expanding access to free school meals in the state, which was passed into law in 2019, making Oregon the national leader in school meal access. Today, we continue this work with continued state and federal advocacy for universal school meals.

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Powerful Victories for Oregon Families

The Hunger-Free Schools campaign resulted in the passage of a comprehensive set of school meal policies, included in the 2019 Student Success Act, to significantly improve access to school meals for all students. We worked hard to ensure that the law was designed to benefit communities at the highest risk of hunger. Learn more about our 2019 Hunger Free Schools campaign.

The new investments to school meals are:

  1. More schools serving universal school meals: Oregon is supplementing the federal reimbursement for school meals so that more schools can opt into a program allowing them to provide all school meals free of charge (Community Eligibility Provision). 
  2. More kids qualifying for free school meals: Students whose families earn between 185% and 300% of the federal poverty line (FPL) now qualify for meals served at no charge, an increase of 37% of food insecure families.
  3. Dramatic increases to Breakfast After the Bell: All schools with 70% or more students eligible for federal free or reduced price meals are now making free breakfast available to all students after the school day begins.

In 2023, Oregon legislation pass a historic investment in Oregon schools in House Bill 5014. HB 5014 included funding to support up to 3 out of 4 to qualify for the Community Eligibility Provision, and provide schools to provide universal school meals to all schoolchildren!

We look forward to supporting school districts in implementing the new option in the school year ’25-’25, and continuing to push for universal school meals for all Oregon students.

Learn More about Free School Meals

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