Hi 23rd PCO!
I’m Jake Garcia, Public Policy Manager for Northwest Harvest, Washington’s statewide food justice organization.
As you may have heard, WA is getting closer to providing nutritious school meals for all families. Despite our state’s strong track record of removing barriers to help students access healthy school meals, there are still students that are required to pay. The current requirements leave nearly 1 in 3 Washington students ineligible for free school meals. SB 5339 would begin to correct this by implementing school meals for more kids in more areas, across our state.
This is truly an intersectional issue; a family of four, with two students, receiving free school meals saves a total of $120-$150 per month. Moreover, it’s not just an economic issue, it’s a fundamental equity pain point for too many families. The stigma felt by many students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals can discourage participation for both paying students and low-income students. When everyone has access to the same services, it reduces the stigma for low and middle-income families.
With this in mind, we would be eternally grateful if you could raise your voice in support SB 5339 with your state legislators, specifically Senator Rolfes at firstname.lastname@example.org, as well as her legislative assistants Jennifer and Lily at email@example.com & Lily.O'Doherty@leg.wa.gov. Sen. Rolfes’ role as Chair of the Ways and Means committee means she has the influence to ensure families are getting basic their needs met. Your role not only as a PCO, but as a constituent, puts you in a unique and critical position to lift your voice in support of SB 5339.
If you could reach out with a brief message of support and ask her to schedule SB 5339 for a hearing in her committee, our mission to ensure everyone in our communities have access to nutritious food would be one step closer to being realized.
I sincerely appreciate any outreach you’re able to participate in and if you have any questions whatsoever, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly. My contact information is in my signature below. I’ve also attached a one-pager that outlines the issue at hand and some of the more technical details of the bill.
Jake Garcia (he/him/él) | Public Policy Manager
Northwest Harvest | p 206.923.7458 | c 360.904.4762
firstname.lastname@example.org | northwestharvest.org