SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WTVO) — Some kids in Illinois might have trouble eating meals provided by their school, since they are not allowed to consume them for religious purposes.

A bill recently passed by the Illinois legislature, however, will change that.

The bill will require state-funded institutions to provide halal and kosher meals if they are requested, according to The Guardian. This includes schools, but also prisons and hospitals as well.

Halal, for some Muslims, means avoiding pork and alcohol. It is a set of guidelines for how animals are cared for and slaughtered for others.

“It’s definitely a historic moment,” said Gerald Hankerson, director of policy at the Muslim Civic Coalition. “We hope it can be replicated in other states. It is very needed.”

Muslim parents and community advocates from across the state have been calling for this for years. They said that free school lunch program might exclude thousands of Muslim kids since there are no religiously inclusive guidelines for the food given.

“It’s not just about satisfying hunger,” Hankerson said. “It’s what it means for [students] to know that they matter.”

In addition to inclusion, they said that it would provide a community that has high rates of poverty with food security.

A 2018 survey from the Institute for Social Police and Understanding found that 33% of Muslim families in the U.S. live below the federal poverty line. By comparison, only 24% of Americans in general live at this level.

Asma Ahad, director of halal market development at Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America, said that it is rare for religious needs to be a part of conversations about food access.

“There’s inequity in systems and infrastructure. And until we address some of these things, it’s hard for Muslims to be food secure,” Ahad said.

Illinois has the largest per-capita population of Muslims in the U.S. The new requirements will go into effect in July 2024 if the bill is signed by Governor JB Pritzker.