EDITORIAL: Making All School Lunches Free in NC Will Cut Hunger, Stigma and Paperwork

The News & Observer has a new opinion piece about School Meals for All NC.

Expanding student access to meals beyond what is already provided by federal funds is a compelling need, said Lynn Harvey, school nutrition director at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction. “This is about what we need to do to promote the health and well being of children,” she said.

Universal free lunches would reduce hunger in a state that ranks high for food insecurity. It would improve children’s focus and academic achievement and spare school districts from keeping track of free and reduced lunch applications and covering for families that run up a school lunch debt. It would also help children from low-income families who fall through the cracks of the system because their parents don’t complete an application or don’t know they should apply.

There’s also a psychological dimension. Providing all students meals without charge would eliminate the stigma felt by children who get in line for subsidized meals while other students bring their own.

“No child should ever feel that walking into the school dining room is a walk of shame,” Harvey said.

Read more.