Free School Lunches Passed by Legislature, Signed by Governor


HF5 (Jordan, DFL – Minneapolis), a bipartisan bill to allocate about $200 million annually to offer Minnesota students free breakfast and lunch, regardless of family income, passed off the Senate floor on March 14. It was then passed in the House on March 16, and signed into law the following day. Minnesota is now the third state in the nation to offer free school meals to students.

Governor Walz signed the bill into law at a ceremony in a Minneapolis elementary school alongside Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan and a pack of school children.

“I was one in six of those Minnesota children who experienced hunger. I was one of those children who grew up with a different colored lunch ticket because my family utilized free and reduced price lunch,” said Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan after the ceremony. “By providing free breakfast and lunch to all of our students, we are removing barriers and removing stigma from the lunchroom.”

Under the free meals program, students would be guaranteed access to the same school lunch provided to all other students under federal guidelines. The bill automatically enrolls students in the federal free school meal program. Previously, parents needed to apply for the free school meal program through a federal reimbursement program based on income.

Initial funding would start in the 2024 fiscal year, with $190 million. That amount would increase to $213 million by 2027.

Annual Sponsors

Children's Minnesota
Gillette Children's
Hennepin Healthcare
University of Minnesota Health
Essentia Health
Mayo Clinic
Shriners Healthcare for Children-Twin Cities