Call grows for universal free lunch in public schools

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BROOKLYN -

Some advocates are lobbying for universal free lunch in all of the city's public schools.

More than 500,000 low-income New York City public school students get free or reduced-priced lunch. Now, some elected leaders and community groups want to expand the program to all students.

Nonprofit Community Food Advocates says nearly 3,000 students in East New York do not qualify for the existing free lunch program because their parents' income is just above the poverty line.

The group also says 780,000 students are eligible for free lunch, but about 250,000 do not participate. It attributes the poverty stigma surrounding the program as a reason for the lack of participation, especially as children grow older.

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