Local authorities in New York City announced that Public School students in the area would get free lunches starting this school year. In total, there are 1.1 million students who will benefit from this project according to Carmen Fariña, the school chancellor.

This wasn't just about giving free food but also an act of equity according to Ms. Fariña. This gives equal treatment to all communities.

Food policy

Many groups have been lobbying for free lunches New York City public schools including food policy advocates and members of the New York City Council. Before this, some children choose to go to school hungry instead of openly admitting their inability to pay.

Inadequate food intake is linked to poor learning progress in children.

Recently, the trend called “lunch shaming” has gained the attention of many. Some blame the unpaid school lunch bills to the children themselves. This drastically affects not just the family but the progress of the children as well.

Based on statistics, many students attending public schools in New York City came from poor families including the 75 percent who already qualified for the free lunches or reduced-priced programs. After the announcement was made, everyone, including those who were eligible for the reduced-price program will receive the meal for free.

Free meals for students

The program will benefit about 200,000 students. According to the New York Times, poor families can save about $300 per year from free lunches.

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Usually, each student spends about $1.75 for lunch on a daily basis.

According to the executive director of Community Food Advocates Liz Accles, New York will join the roster of cities that are already offering free lunches to students including Dallas, Detroit, Chicago, and Boston. The group is also one of the most active lobbyists of the program. It wasn’t easy though since New York has the highest number of school children compared to all the cities mentioned above.

Despite the number, officials are confident that the program won’t necessarily cost the city a lot more money. Recently, the city upgraded its system that tracks families who are eligible for benefits such as Medicaid. They match the result with schools their children attend. With this, the city is capable of tracking students’ families that receive the benefits and identifies the situation so that the city may qualify for a federal program that pays for students’ Free lunch meals.

Authorities remind the families to fill up household income forms so that it will be easier for the government to track families and to offer them the benefits they are entitled to get.