State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, introduced legislation Wednesday to make free meals available to every public school student without any burdensome application process or eligibility determination. With provisions that emphasize meals that are freshly prepared with locally grown food, SB 364, the “School Meals for All” bill, is meant to reduce hunger, improve learning, help families and support California farmers and food producers.
“Free education for every child has long been the norm. Knowing how essential nutrition is to learning, it makes sense that free, healthy meals also be the norm,” Skinner said. “SB 364 will ensure that students are fed without the red tape schools and families are currently burdened with.”
State and federal programs fund free and reduced-price meals for schoolchildren from low-income families. But over the years, many kids have been effectively locked out of the program due to mandatory and burdensome application processes and out-of-date federal income guidelines. During the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Congress passed the Pandemic Child Hunger Prevention Act to allow meals to be served to all children without these paperwork barriers. SB 364 will use this model and allow schools to continue providing meals for all children after the pandemic is over.
Though California is an abundant producer of food, our kids are going hungry at an alarming rate. Before the COVID-19 crisis, 15.2% of children in California were experiencing hunger, and that number has now nearly doubled. SB 364 will also establish an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program to ensure that children have access to food when schools are closed during breaks and prolonged disasters. The proposal builds on the current Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program, recently established by the federal government to ensure that kids have access to food while schools are closed during the pandemic. In recognition of California’s vibrant agriculture economy, SB 364 also prioritizes food grown and produced in California.
Skinner represents California Senate District 9, which includes Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond and Alameda and consists of West Contra Costa and Northern Alameda counties running from Rodeo to San Leandro. She is also the state Senate majority whip, chair of the Senate Budget Committee and vice chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus.
— state Sen. Skinner’s office
League of Women Voters to hear speech on homelessness
Margot Kushel, M.D., who directs the UCSF Center for Vulnerable Populations and UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, will present her latest research on solutions to “Housing the Homeless in the Time of COVID-19” to the League of Women Voters of Piedmont (LWVP) online from 4 to 5 p.m. March 2. Kushel will answer audience members’ questions from 4:30 to 5 p.m.
Kushel’s research aims to prevent and end homelessness and mitigate the effects of housing instability on healthcare outcomes. She works with diverse stakeholders to implement programmatic and policy changes based on her research and is the primary investigator of several multiyear studies on homeless populations in the Bay Area from 2012 to the present. This free program presented by the LWVP is open to the public online at their Youtube channel at bayareane.ws/3qagJBI. To register online via Zoom, visit bayareane.ws/2OhX3h2.
Holy Names U. announces bachelor’s degree partnership
Oakland’s Holy Names University (HNU) is offering a new bachelor’s degree completion path for students pursuing advanced chiropractic degrees at Life Chiropractic College West (Life West). Students of Life West who have yet to complete their bachelor’s degree may do so at HNU. In February 2020, HNU and Life West signed a partnership agreement that supports the training of highly skilled chiropractic doctors while reducing their time to degree by one year. This partnership provides students with the opportunity to earn a bachelor of science in kinesiology degree and a doctorate in chiropractice in a total of six years.
Recreation Department hiring for after-school program
The Piedmont Recreation Department (PRD) is hiring recreation leaders for our after-school program Schoolmates (currently operating as Camp Smart Start and Play Pods). We’re seeking candidates to join our team who are responsible, energetic, creative and fun. If you love playing capture the flag, making crazy art projects and are passionate about working with children we’re looking for you. Candidates must be:
- professional: you know how to engage appropriately with children and their parents;
- responsible: safety comes first and you always follow through;
- energetic/enthusiastic: you’re a team player, ready to jump in and have fun; and
- experienced: you’ve worked with children in a recreation/after-school setting.
Candidates must also be able to work outdoors and indoors and follow COVID-19 safety guidelines and policies. Available schedules for Camp Smart Start/Play Pod are 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 2 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pay is $14 to $19 an hour for candidates ages 16 and older (those younger than 18 must be able to obtain work permits; those older than 18 must pass background checks). To apply, email Jackson Stearns at [email protected]
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