DENVER (KDVR) — Free meals will be offered in all of Colorado’s eligible public schools thanks to a voter-approved program funded by high earners.
Every eligible school district in Colorado opted into the program, the Colorado Department of Education said in a Friday release. That means more than 800,000 public school students will have free breakfast and lunch.
In November 2022, Colorado voters approved the so-called “Healthy School Meals for All” program. It reduces tax deductions for households earning at least $300,000 a year, raising an estimated $100 million annually to feed the state’s public schoolchildren.
Districts had until Sept. 15 to decide whether to participate, and all eligible districts decided to do so, according to the state.
It’s not just Colorado: California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico and Vermont also have made school meals free to all students regardless of income, according to The Associated Press.
Which Colorado schools are eligible for free meals?
Some places are not eligible to opt into Colorado’s free school meals program, including day treatment facilities, residential childcare facilities and private schools.
- Alternative Homes For Youth
- Annunciation Catholic School
- Arrupe Jesuit High School
- Bethlehem Lutheran Parish
- Colo School F/T Deaf And The Blind
- Corpus Christi School
- Divine Redeemer
- Division Of Youth Services
- Escuela De Guadalupe
- Gateway Youth & Family Services
- Guardian Angels Church
- Jefferson Hills Corp.
- Landmark Baptist School
- Laradon School
- Maslow Academy Of Applied Learning Inc.
- Morgridge Academy
- Shiloh House
- St. Columba School
- St. John The Evangelist School
- St. Rose Of Lima
- St. Therese School
- Tennyson Center
- Third Way Center
- Cornell Corrections Of California
- Assumption Catholic School
- Dayspring Christian Academy
- Good Shepherd Catholic School
- Nativity Of Our Lord
- Most Precious Blood School
- Notre Dame Catholic School
- St. Paul Catholic School
- Peace With Christ School
- Shrine Of St. Anne School
- Sts. Peter And Paul School
- Adams State University
- Fort Lewis College
- Office Of Children’s Affairs, City And County Of Denver
- Ute Mountain Ute Recreation Center
- Pre-Collegiate Program University Of Colorado (Colorado Springs)
- Blanca / Ft. Garland Community Center
- Salvation Army
- Food Bank Of The Rockies Inc.
- Food Bank For Larimer County
- Prairie Family Center
- Weld Food Bank
- Jewish Family Service Of Colorado, Inc.
- Wildwood Child And Adult Care / Cfp101385
- Breakthrough Kent Denver
- Jovial Concepts Inc
- High Valley Community Center, Inc.
- Denver Inner City Parish
- Debbie’s Toy Closet
- Colorado Food Cluster
- Kids At Their Best
Proponents of the program say feeding students brings learning benefits.
“Experts say that providing fresh, accessible school meal options to every student throughout the day fuels their success and grows healthy habits that drive lifelong learning and achievement,” according to the Colorado Department of Education.