Nov. 9, 2022 update: DENVER — All students in Colorado will have the opportunity to be offered free lunch at school. Colorado voters favored The Healthy School Meals for All ballot measure on Tuesday.
With a 55.11% yes, Colorado voters passed Proposition FF, giving districts the opportunity to offer free school lunches for all students.
“It’s time to stop letting children face shame or hunger in our classrooms or putting the pressure on teachers to feed them,” wrote Karla Gonzales Garcia with Hunger Free Colorado.
Gonzales Garcia worked to advocate for the passage of this ballot measure. In a celebratory Facebook post, Gonzales Garcia wrote, “thank you to the folks who believed we could do this and helped: our coalition members and community who helped create and advocate for the policy, the policymakers who believed and made it happen, the education and fiscal leaders who helped us figure out the policy, and the many people who shared their stories. Your strength and bravery make me tear up! We are the change we wish to see.”
You can read our previous coverage on Prop FF below.
Impact of Proposition FF
When Maria Judith Alvarez’ son was in elementary school, he once returned home from school with his lunch number written on his wrist. It was the school’s way of letting Alvarez know that her son owed lunch money.
“They weren’t going to give him any more food until I went to pay off the debt,” Alvarez told Rocky Mountain PBS in Spanish.
At the time, the family only had one car and one cell phone that Alvarez' husband used most of the time for his job.
“Maybe they tried to get in touch with us with a phone call or a voicemail,” she said, “but with my husband working — you know how some men are — they don’t always answer the phone.”
Alvarez went to the school the following day to pay off the debt and put more money in her son’s account. “I wanted him to feel confident next time he stood in line for a school lunch,” she said.
Eight years have passed since that happened, but Alvarez said her son still doesn’t like to eat school lunch. “He waits until he comes home to eat,” Alvarez explained.
Her story and the stories she hears from many other moms in Glenwood Springs motivated her to advocate for Healthy School Meals for All, a program that voters will decide on in the upcoming November election.