Fires, hurricanes, floods. Do you need to hear a little good news for a change? Lunch will be available for free to all New York City public school students this year. That’s over a million kids who will be able to get a good, nutritious meal free of charge every day.
Nutrition To Learn
Hunger isn’t something we often think of as being a problem in this country, but consider the fact that around seventy-five percent of students in New York’s public schools already qualified for lower cost or received free meals. Breakfast (which had already been provided for free system-wide for several years) and lunch at school are sometimes the only good meals some of these kids get in a day. The hope is that by offering the lunches free to all, the stigma of subsidized school meals will be removed.
City Councilman Ben Kallos, who grew up on the Upper East Side and attended Bronx High School of Science said his mother’s income in his single-parent household was low enough that he qualified for reduced-price lunches. He tried to hide the fact that he got the reduced lunches by just not eating them.
“I had to choose between friends and food,” Mr. Kallos said. “I hope no child makes the same poor choices I did.”
A Growing Trend
New York joins other major cities like Chicago, Boston, Detroit and Dallas in offering free lunches to all students. Of all those cities, New York has by far the largest number of children to feed. The move is applauded by child advocacy groups and school districts alike.
“We need to provide school meals on the same basis on which we provide school transportation and textbooks,” said Janet Poppendieck, a senior fellow at the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute and author of “Free for All: Fixing School Food in America.”