New York City Puts an End to School-Lunch Shaming

The city rolled out universal free lunch on the first day of class.

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In some places, there really is such thing as a free lunch. As of Wednesday, September 6, New York City’s first day of school, all 1.1 million students are eligible for a hot lunch under the program Free School Lunch for All.

Mayor Bill de Blasio first began advocating for universal free lunch in New York City in 2014, when he launched a pilot program in middle schools. Although other school districts, Boston and Detroit among them, already offer free lunch to every student, New York City’s will be the largest program of its kind.  According to education news website Chalkbeat.org, more than two thirds of the city’s students were eligible to receive a free lunch, though an estimated 250,000 didn’t participate in the program due to a stigma associated with it or complicated paperwork. 

For more on how “school-lunch shaming” can harm kids—and what politicians are doing about it—listen to this recent episode of our food politics podcast, Bite. The segment begins at about 23:00. 

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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