Help Feed Students Left Hungry Because of Faith-Based Exclusion

Target: Miguel Cardona, U.S. Secretary of Education

Goal: Advocate for kosher and halal meals in schools across America.

While free school lunches for children from low-income households have long been a fixture, lesser attention has been paid to other groups of students experiencing food insecurity: Muslims and Jews. Often, these students’ faiths compel them to eat meals that include or exclude certain items or are prepared in certain ways. For the Muslim population, these types of meals are known as halal, while for the Jewish population they are called kosher. Unfortunately, most public schools in the country do not offer these options, which means affected students may go hungry and lack the energy needed to make it through a school day.

Illinois, which has a large Muslim presence, recently passed a landmark new piece of legislation that would require all schools funded by the state to incorporate kosher and halal meals into their offerings. Other efforts have popped up at the school and city level, providing some students relief and sustenance. But a national plan of action could help all students.

Sign the petition below to urge America’s top education agency to help take these important efforts country-wide.


Dear Secretary Cardona,

Millions of students across America are part of the Jewish and Muslim faiths. While extracurricular offerings and other forms of support have grown for these populations in the educational sector, students still face a perhaps unintended but nevertheless harmful form of discrimination in one major realm: the lunchroom. When these students see no foods or meals that honor and respect their sincerely held beliefs, they are too often left with the option of no lunch instead. Their health, their school performances. and their feelings of inclusion suffer as a result.

Illinois recognized this disparity and recently mandated that all state-sponsored institutions offer students kosher or halal meals that reflect the guidelines of their religions. Please do everything in your power to make this simple but important measure a national movement.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Katerina Holmes

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