NYS Health President Speaks Out for Free Lunch for NYC Children
As a candidate, Mayor de Blasio promised to enact universal free school lunch in New York City public schools. The Mayor has aggressively pursued policies to decrease inequality in the City and clearly understands the important links among food access, health, and learning. From affordable housing to universal pre-K, the Mayor has worked to address the needs of poor and working class New Yorkers. But universal school lunch sticks out as an unfulfilled pledge.
I’ve written previously about the merits of eliminating school lunch fees and getting more kids to eat lunch at school. A hungry child can’t learn or realize her full potential. Hungry kids find it harder to do what is good for their health and engage in a natural part of growing up: being physically active and playing.
Many kids in New York City public schools do already qualify for free or reduced price lunch, but many of those who are eligible do not participate in the lunch program. What stops them? It’s simple: Stigma. Bullying. Shaming. . .