WHY SCHOOL MEALS FOR ALL?
During the pandemic, childhood food insecurity has increased dramatically, prompting the USDA to temporarily fund school meals for all children, free of charge. We should never go back to expecting some students to pay for school meals, and here’s why.
Studies show that school meals:
- reduce food insecurity
- decrease childhood weight issues and obesity
- improve child nutrition and wellness
- enhance child development and school readiness
- support learning, attendance, and behavior
It’s about Equity
- Before Covid, the existing policy for school meals where some children are expected to pay while others receive their meals for free, creates stigma and shame for those students that rely on school meals for their basic needs, and a barrier for those students who are not eligible but are still experiencing food insecurity
- BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) students are disproportionately impacted by food insecurity
- Students aren’t expected to pay for books, desks, or bus fare, why should school breakfast and lunch be any different?
School Meals for All would streamline and strengthen school nutrition programs:
- Participation by all students in school meal programs increases when meals are provided for free, resulting in increased revenue by way of federal reimbursements
- School Meals for All would eliminate issues of unpaid school meal debt and reduce administrative paperwork, freeing up school nutrition staff to focus on feeding kids
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