Baltimore Will Begin Giving Free Breakfast & Lunch To All Students
Hand-in-hand with this morning’s news about hunger issues in the US, Baltimore has announced that all schoolchildren will receive free breakfast and lunch irrespective of family income. This new policy will replace a tiered system that was put in place for high-poverty schools.
“Eighty-four percent of Baltimore students qualified for free and reduced-priced meals this year based on family income under the National School Lunch Program, established in 1946,” reports the Baltimore Sun. “About 13,000 paid $3 for lunch this year; the district dropped its reduced-priced meals in 2013 and paid the subsidy for those students to eat for free.”
The new program is meant to feed all students who need these meals but might have extenuating circumstances that keep them from receiving food at school (for instance, homelessness that prevents them from getting paperwork done) and eliminates the stigma of being pinpointed for receiving a free meal. Moreover, when children have full bellies, they’re better able to learn.
While the news is good, it’s a long time coming.
“The city was criticized for not opting into the program two years ago when it raised lunch prices to $3, among the highest in the nation. School system officials said then that the city could have lost some state funding if it took part in the program without state legislation,” the Sun continues. Now the city will receive funding based on how many meals it serves.
So disturbing that these are the logistics of making sure kids can get a meal.