We are advocating for New York to establish and fund a statewide, permanent Healthy School Meals for All NY Kids in the FY2025 state budget. This would allow all schools in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) to offer free meals to all students, regardless of their household income.
Healthy School Meals for All levels the playing field so all students can succeed and helps families struggling to make ends meet.
About the Policy:
Impact of the Policy:
Levels the playing field so all kids can succeed:
- Households with children attending schools that provide free meals for all are 3 times less likely to experience food insecurity.
- Healthy School Meals for All eliminates social stigma associated with free meals being tied to income, a significant barrier to participation in school meal programs.
- Free school meals save families an estimated $140 per child in grocery spending each month.
Advances child health, educational, and racial equity:
- Across all income levels kids receive their healthiest meals at school; children receiving school lunches consume more milk, fruit, vegetables, and fiber than their peers.
- Healthy school meals for all supports learning, boosts test scores, and improves attendance and classroom behavior.
- Establishing statewide free meals can reduce longstanding and widening racial disparities in nutrition, health, education and achievement.
Supports communities and the economy:
- Allows schools to purchase local, high-quality foods.
- Eliminates school meal debt, a significant burden for families and school district budgets.
- Overall, every dollar invested in school meals provides $2 in health, equity, environmental, and economic benefits.