Heather Gustafson, a Minnesota state senator, knows what food insecurity feels like, having previously raised four children as a single mom on a teacher's salary. Minnesota parents will no longer need to worry about how to feed their children breakfast and lunch, thanks to universal school meals legislation Gustafson and Rep. Sydney Jordan have sponsored in the state legislature. As part of a national growing movement to make healthy food available to school children, Minnesota is now one of six states who offer all students no-cost breakfast and lunch during the school year. According to research shared by Education Reporter Nadra Nittle, children who do not have access to enough food and proper nutrition are prone to an increase in school absences and can struggle with behavior and the ability to learn. This universal approach to providing free meals to students reduces the stigma and judgment that comes along with food insecurity, levels the 'playing field' and is an immense support to parents and guardians struggling to make ends meet. Rep. Jordan sums it up by sharing her sentiments about universal free meal legislation: “There’s going to be breakfast waiting for every Minnesota student when they show up in the fall,” she said. “I just think it’s going to be a happier and healthier Minnesota, and I’m really, really, really excited about it.”

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