Senator Mendoza Child Hunger Prevention Legislation of 2015 Featured as National Success Story by the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

May 4, 2016

Sacramento – The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law today recognized SB 708, authored by Senator Tony Mendoza in 2015, as one of eight national success stories to help low-income California children. The SB 708 success story may be found here: http://www.povertyscorecard.org/education

The legislation was signed into law last year by Governor Jerry Brown, and will help address childhood hunger by directing schools to make applications electronically available online for the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs and to provide them in multiple languages.

“We commend Senator Tony Mendoza for authoring SB 708 and making it easier for low-income children to receive free or reduced-price meals. His work to ensure that no child goes hungry demonstrates his commitment to securing justice and protecting opportunity for the most vulnerable in California,” said Jessica Bartholow, Legislative Advocate for California’s Western Center on Law and Poverty.

“I thank the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law for recognizing SB 708.  My bill improves access to and participation in federally-funded school meal programs by ensuring that schools provide the applications online and offer them in multiple languages. It is my hope is that the bill will help better serve the needs of a diverse student population,” said Senator Tony Mendoza.

The National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program are federally-funded meal programs operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. They provide nutritionally-balanced, low-cost or free breakfasts and lunches to children each school day. The National School Lunch Program was established in 1946 and the School Breakfast Program in 1966. In California, all public schools, except charter schools, must serve at least one free or reduced-price meal during the school day.

In 2012-13, approximately 3.7 million of California’s 6.2 million school children were eligible for free or reduced-price school meals. To be eligible for the meal programs, the household income for a family of four must be less than $43,000.

The new law directs schools to provide online access to free or reduced-price meal program applications and to make them available in multiple languages. In addition, the bill requires the online application be uniform and comply with child privacy rights and disclosure protections.

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides nationwide leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. For more information on their work please visit their website: www.povertylaw.org

Senator Tony Mendoza, a Los Angeles native and former elementary school teacher in East Los Angeles, represents the 32nd Senate District encompassing portions of Los Angeles and Orange Counties. For more information about Senator Mendoza visit his website or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

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