Great news from the New York City Department of Education!

Great news from the New York City Department of Education!

September 8, 2017

The Free School Lunch for All initiative now makes lunch free for every public school student in New York City. “We know that students cannot learn or thrive in school if they are hungry all day,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Free school lunch will not only ensure that every kid in New York City has the fuel they need to succeed but also further our goal of providing an excellent and equitable education for all students.”

The initiative is an important step in removing the stigma associated with free lunch eligibility. Approximately 75% of New York City public school students are eligible for free or reduced-priced lunches, yet some forgo the school lunch program out of fear of being labeled “poor” and bullied, preferring instead to go hungry. “A free school lunch isn’t really free if students must reveal their socioeconomic status to their classmates in order to eat,” said Councilmember Vanessa L. Gibson. “By making lunch truly free for 100% of our students in all of our public schools, we are removing any remaining stigma attached to this important program and making sure that for New York City Schools kids, hunger isn’t a barrier to academic success.”

Serving over 1.1 million students, the initiative is now the largest universal free lunch program in the nation. Other major cities leading the way include Boston, Chicago, Detroit, and Dallas. ChangeLab applauds NYC DOE’s efforts toensure that all students are healthy and ready to learn. To learn more about creating healthier, thriving school environments, contact us or check out our resources.