Program to provide free lunch to all NYC public school students

Posted: Updated:
BROWNSVILLE -

A new universal program will provide free lunch to all students of New York City public schools.

Officials say the program will deliver lunches to an additional 200,000 students per year.

Teachers say the program is a game-changer and will help students focus on learning.

Yvette Collins has been teaching preschoolers at P.S. 178 for almost three decades. For years, she and fellow teachers would pool their own money so students wouldn’t go hungry. Many of her kids come from a nearby shelter, and she says their grumbling stomachs would break her heart.

“We would buy breakfast bars, we would buy juice that they could have,” says Collins. “It’s heartbreaking when a child comes to school and they can’t concentrate because they’re hungry.”

Public Advocate Letitia James says the universal program will erase the stigma of receiving free or reduced-cost meals.

"No more being called names, no more bullying, no one will make fun of them, now everyone will eat a free and nutritious lunch, and there's no more separation," says James.

The plan doesn’t come without critics. Some say it’s unfair to give free lunch to students who can afford their own. 

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