Three new NPI policy briefs elevate San Joaquin Valley parent voices on importance of School Meals for All

May 14, 2021

Throughout the pandemic, the Nutrition Policy Institute policy team, Christina Hecht and Ken Hecht, have partnered with a Stanford University research team and two San Joaquin Valley community-based organizations to help improve access to school meals. The team's study included parent focus groups to capture parents' concerns and wishes regarding their children's school meals, and a parent PhotoVoice project to visually document school meals. Nearly all parent engagements were conducted in Spanish and study findings were reported to the community via a bilingual webinar and Radio Bilingüe. Recently introduced state (California SB 364) and federal (The Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021) legislation aim to provide free school meals for all enrolled children. Both bills include added funds for locally-sourced foods and the establishment of a “Summer EBT” program to provide low-income families with extra funds for food when schools – and school meal programs – are closed. Learn about the legislation and read parent viewpoints in Parent Voices: School Meals for AllParent Voices: Local Foods for School Meals, and Parent Voices: Summer EBT. This work was supported with funding from the American Heart Association Voices for Healthy Kids, The Center at Sierra Health Foundation and the San Joaquin Valley Health Fund, Stanford Medical Scholars Program, Stanford Pediatric Resident Research Grant, and Share Our Strength No Kid Hungry. This work also received a United States Public Health Service 2021 Excellence in Public Health Award.

By Danielle L. Lee
Author - Director of Communications & Research Engagement