Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Project Title

Public Affairs Support for a Statewide Universal Free School Meals Campaign

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Healthy Food, Healthy Lives

Date Awarded

September 27, 2022







Free school meals improve physical health, mental wellbeing, and academic performance, and they can provide students with healthier diets.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a federal policy ensured that every student in the nation had access to free school meals, but that policy expired in September 2022. Many schools have reverted to collecting meal fees from students as food prices rise. Families that earn just above the income limits for free meals, but less than a living wage, have been hit hard. With NYHealth grants in 2016 and 2017, Global Strategy Group (GSG) supported Community Food Advocates (CFA) in a New York City universal school meals campaign resulting in free school meals to all public school students. In 2022, NYHealth awarded GSG a grant to provide strategic support to the statewide universal free school meals campaign.

Under this grant, GSG worked with Hunger Solutions New York (HSNY) and CFA to ensure that every New York State public school had access to free school meals. GSG worked with coalition leaders to design and execute their campaign, create compelling messages, and develop materials such as testimony, op-eds, and social media posts. GSG also designed and implemented a media strategy and arranged educational briefings for policymakers.