Give All Students a Free Lunch

Kids Eating School Lunch by U.S. Department of Agriculture

Target: Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City

Goal: Enhance students’ education by providing a free lunch for all public school students, regardless of income.

Good meals are essential to a child’s focus and success in school, but many students in New York City do not eat as much as they should. Some can not pay for a school lunch, and others do not want to deal with the stigma that qualifying for free lunch brings. By providing all public school students with a free lunch, everyone is on equal footing and no one has to miss a meal.

In order to qualify for the current free lunch program, a student’s family income needs to be at or below 130 percent of the poverty line. This criteria is the same across the country, but the cost of living varies, with New York City being one of the most expensive places to live. So there are many students whose family income is above the required income, but the family is still living from paycheck to paycheck. These students cannot afford to buy lunch, and they can’t get a free lunch because their families are considered “not poor enough.”

Even students that do qualify for free lunch do not always get a lunch. There is a significant stigma against kids who receive free lunch, often being mocked for being poor. A family’s socioeconomic status is very personal, and many students would rather not have all their classmates know that they are on hard times.

By providing a free lunch to all public school students, no one can tell whose family is struggling to feed their kids, and everybody gets a chance to eat a good meal. Sign this petition and demand that New York City implement a universal free lunch program.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Mayor de Blasio,

Many students do no eat a good meal at school because they are either unable to pay for it or they do not want to face the stigma that qualifying for free meals brings. This affects your city’s educational goals, because students who are hungry do not perform as well in school. However, this can be fixed by providing all public school students with a free lunch, regardless of family income.

Now, you might be concerned with how such an ambitious program would be paid for. This is actually not a huge problem, because over 90 percent of school lunch costs are covered by federal and state reimbursements. The more lunches that are served, the more reimbursements the city receives.

Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, Detroit, and Washington D.C. have all successfully implemented universal free lunch programs. New York City is a major progressive city that should not be left out of this. Please help enhance students’ education by providing all of them with a free lunch.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

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