Until the start of this school year, less than a third of NYC public schools offered free lunch to all students. Now, thanks to more intensive tracking of student backgrounds, the city has discovered that it qualifies for a federal program that funds school lunches. With the start of the 2017 school year, lunch is available to all students, free of charge.
The lunches were already coming in at a low cost of $1.75 per day, but some students were denied food due to clogged paperwork and many faced a choice between going hungry or facing “lunch shaming” humiliation from staff and peers.
The state calculates that this new program will help 200,000 students and save $300 a year for their families. We applaud the state for taking this long overdue step towards equity in schools. No child should have to go hungry.