By Juan Carlos Guerrero
VACAVILLE, Calif. (KGO) — When millions of California children go back to school this month, they won’t just encounter pandemic safety measures, they will also be getting a free lunch every day.
Last month, Governor Gavin Newsom approved using funds from the unexpected budget surplus to pay for the largest free school meals program in the country, covering an estimated 6.2 million children.
“School meals for all was considered an impossible dream until the pandemic came along,” said Kat Taylor, founder of TomKat Ranch and a driving force behind the idea.
When the pandemic started, families lined up in cars to pick up food bags or prepared meals. It soon became clear that schools were becoming vital centers of food distribution for students and their families.
“One silver lining of COVID has been that people are starting to see schools as the true heroes and that they are starting to see that schools are the largest restaurants in town,” said Nora LaTorre, the CEO of Eat Real.