Today was the first day of school for my sons, both of whom attend a New York City public school in Queens, NY.
New York City public schools will offer free lunches to all students beginning this school year.
Yesterday, the New York City department of education announced that all 1.1 million of the city's public school students will be offered free lunch starting this school year, regardless of their family's income level.
School lunch fees can be a huge burden for cash-strapped families and often the lines between those who qualify for free or subsidized lunches and those who don't have been arbitrary.
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The move was made by the New York City Council to prevent the embarrassment of children who can't afford to pay their unpaid lunch bills, which is sometimes referred to as "lunch shaming", reported the New York Times. "Universal school lunch is a proven policy that takes the shame and stigma out of free meals and ensures that all our kids have full stomachs and the best chance to learn and grow in school".
In a statement, the New York City Department of Education explained that funding for the free lunch program will come via reimbursement from the federal government through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP).
School districts in other cities like Chicago, Boston and Dallas also provide free lunches to all students.
Breakfast is already provided in NY schools and now "all meals will be served at no charge to families", according to the Department of Education. Those students are registered in school districts 7 and 23, in the South Bronx and serving Brownsville, Ocean Hill and East New York, respectively. The district already provides free breakfast to all students.
Though advocates have increasingly pushed for the benefit, it is unlikely the Trump administration would institute nationwide universal free school lunch. "I hope no child makes the same poor choices I did".