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School Meals for All

A full belly is foundational to a full mind.

Hungry Kids Can't Learn

1-in-7 students in New York state are going hungry. From our city centers to the countryside, this issue affects all communities.

Research has shown that students experiencing hunger struggle to focus and have lower school attendance, which in turn impacts their academic performance. Worse still, hungry children are at a greater risk of mental and physical health problems.

Free and reduced meals still leave 470,000 students without a seat at the cafeteria table, and thousands more children are pushed out of the lunch line because of stigma, literacy and language barriers.

We believe all students deserve healthy school meals.

In the FY 2024 State Budget, New York must establish and fund a statewide, permanent Healthy School Meals for All program across all schools in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

This policy will:

Provide breakfast & lunch at no cost for all students each school day, regardless of household income.

Ensure nutritious meals, as schools must follow NSLP and School Breakfast Program (SBP) guidelines.

Maximize federal reimbursement by fully leveraging existing federal provisions and SNAP outreach.


The benefits of full bellies go way beyond the lunch tray. Providing school meals for all

  • Supports academic achievement for all students, boosting test scores and improving attendance and classroom behavior.

  • Provides reliable access to nutrition for all children; school meals can account for over half of a child’s daily calories. Across all income levels, kids receive their healthiest meals at school, consuming more milk, fruit, vegetables, and fiber than their peers.

  • Provides financial relief for all families; receiving school breakfast and lunch at no cost saves families an estimated $140 per child in groceries per month. For a family of four that’s a total savings of $3,360 per year!