Children now get free meals at state schools in 8 states

Originally published at: Children now get free meals at state schools in 8 states | Boing Boing


Right To Life, but not Right To Food.


Of course they do, the rotten bastards.

In Michigan, it’s not fully “free” to all kids. We still have to pay for milk and a la cart foods. The kids of the poorest parents will have those costs covered, which will still likely result in lower-middle class families having to chastise their kids for grabbing a milk when they didn’t take the “bundled” meal, whatever the hell that’s supposed to be.


Socialism > Capitalism :+1: There is no such thing as a free lunch, but making it free at the point of delivery and paying for it out of the public wealth is so much fairer; which is why Republicans hate the idea.

Edit for spelling :roll_eyes:


9 states. New York is starting to roll out their program (but are letting individual counties to opt in)

Also to reiterate on what @euansmith already said, letting kids go hungry is even more expensive in the long run. Hungry kids end up being less focused/behaved which can cause issues in the classroom leaving already taxed teachers less focused on teaching, less focused students being more likely to have to take remedial classes/summer school which, surprise surprise will still end up costing taxpayers.


NY state hasn’t done this yet, but our district sent out a notice mid-summer letting us know that due to a budgetary excess all students would get every meal free. Of course it was the day after I reloaded the Littlest Pea’s account.


Truly a Wonderful Thing. Scrooges are gonna Scrooge, but scrooge them.


My Grandkid just started kindergarten this week. We live in Ohio, which has income requirements on free meals, but somehow my city, Columbus, meets citywide requirements so that every kid gets free breakfast and lunch. It’s a HUGE thing to not have to worry about sending a lunch, or running a tab, or sending money once a day/week. The kids get a nutritious meal and that helps with their ability to learn. Win/Win in my mind.


Good. I remember when I was real little I had free lunch, and later reduced lunch. Remember those little card you handed in and they put it in a machine that went ka-chunk?

Anyway, kids learn better when they aren’t hungry. Feed them.


“School meal debt” is one of the most casually shocking things in America, and it’s up against strong competition. Children in debt for food to their schools .

The only solution is forced labor camps for these deadbeat 8 year-olds! Off to the mills, slaughterhouses, and coal mines! And later on when $0.02 per hour hasn’t repaid their free ride, off to debtors prison with the lot of you! /s

Atwood move over, there’s a new rightwing policy writer in town - goes by the name Dickens.


This may be determined by district. In my area all meals are free so long as the kids select three of four food categories: grain, protein, fruit/vegetable, milk. One of my kids is lactose intolerant, so I’m glad she doesn’t have to grab a milk just to waste it. What I didn’t enjoy from the information they sent just before to school year was essentially the threat that if the kids don’t pull three of them four, then the meal would be charged. Charged for having less food! (I understand what is driving that, but there’s a certain absurdity to it.)

Prior to my district’s announcing free breakfast and lunch, I talked to my sister (a teacher in the Metro Detroit area) about how happy I was that this was going to be an option. She pointed out that while food may be free, it’s not all that nutritional. And it’s true. My oldest had confetti pancakes with syrup for lunch yesterday. But this is better than nothing. Is they can keep this up, maybe then we can move toward better lunch options.


If only there was someone whose teachings Republicans claim to follow who fed people without asking for payment.

Indeed, His followers said “Let them go buy their dinner in the villages” and He said “They don’t need to go buy something. I’ll feed them right here.”


Illinois as well. Law passed August 13th.

Many counties had been testing it since the pandemic. It’s great. My local school district, with several schools having a lot of low-income students, has seen attendance and grades skyrocket since the change. Lot easier to learn when you’re not hungry.


Meals are free in my area. There is some criticism of project specifics. Last year, forcing kids to take one of each item created a lot of food waste. Also, my kids don’t like a lot of the food… no different than when I was in school, but a good reminder that we always want to prioritize improving the details on programs like this.

But they’re all just details. My wife and I feel great that our kids might forget to take lunch and not have any cash or meal plan, but they’ll never have to be hungry at school. I can’t imagine what a load off it must be for any parent who really needs the help feeding their kid (in addition to how beneficial it is to the kid themself, of course).

Free school lunch (and breakfast, and dinner) is a great project for society. :+1:


I had critique like this in my post, but felt since no one else was mentioning it, I wouldn’t. But thank you for doing so!

My kids, now teachers in the district they graduated from, moan about how the food was made heathly but it’s a good thing. Unfortunately, I have seen the quality vastly falling over the past 2-3 years. I’m guessing it’s a “lowest bidder” situation. I do believe some standards should exist to pull it up. At least we’ve got something to start from though.

We don’t have your issue, with required takes, but that’s not to say there aren’t weird bits. My biggest ?? is the massive focus on cheese in the offerings recently. So many cheese breads and mozzarella cheese sticks coming in. Guessing this is to get it as a veggie option. These are the days I send a packed lunch.


Next up will be Enhanced Detention for School Meal Debtors. It is never too early to get fresh workers squeezed in to the Eduction-Prison Pipeline. :grimacing::grimacing::grimacing:


That’s basically what happens.

About 10 years ago, my son went to get his lunch and it turns out he had no funds. Negative funds actually, as you got to go 2 days in the red before they cut you off. So he was refused for lunch, but then forced to sit in lunch, next to his friends, who of course had lunch. As if high school doesn’t have enough horrible things to experience. Of course they shared, but that’s not the point - they took his tray away and told him to go sit down. After that, I made sure he always had months of funds in there, and checked weekly. I’m sure I was entitled to some refund after the school year but never even looked into it.


I think we’re explaining the same criteria, but using different words. :woman_shrugging:

To your sister’s point, remember 2 school years ago when kids were getting “free” food from a USDA grant? Yeah, it was not great. My son packed a lunch for himself a lot that year. Today is only the second day of school, I haven’t even asked how lunch is going yet. If the kid wants me to pick up lunch meat this weekend, I will know the food quality is shite again this year.


id wonder if that’s down to the local district, and if so: there’s a chance for parents to get engaged to change the food options. often good food at scale is cheaper than the junk food at scale, but the latter is easier to source - so it’s less work for the administrators


During the pandemic, this issue was solved at one of my kid’s schools by simply having a “unwanted food” tray at the end of the line. If you can’t have milk or gluten because of an allergy, drop it off at the tray and someone else will take it. The tray was invariably mostly empty by the end of the lunch periods. And this was at a large middle-class public school.

The social aspect of all this is massive. When everyone had free lunch at school, the vast majority of kids took advantage of it - again, in a suburban, middle-class public school. My kids noticed a big reduction in lunch-related harrassment when everyone was getting the school lunch, not just the poor kids with the free lunch vouchers and the kids with single parents.