Sign the Letter of Support
One in six children in North Carolina experiences hunger on a daily basis. In our most rural counties, as many as one in three children experience hunger. Providing no-cost school meals to all students in North Carolina public schools will ensure every child has access to healthy, nutritious breakfast and lunch; promote student academic achievement; and eliminate meal debt and “lunch shaming.”
No child should go hungry because their parent or guardian cannot afford food. Yet, every day in North Carolina, almost 400,000 kids don’t have enough to eat.
COVID-19 showed us how much kids need school meals. A study of school districts showed that school meals for all during COVID-19:
- 95% reported the nationwide waivers helped reduce child hunger in their school district;
- 85% reported that the nationwide waivers eliminated any stigma associated with school meals; and
- 82% reported the nationwide waivers supported academic achievement.
No-cost school meals are an investment in academic performance. Studies show that providing students with healthy meals at school makes them more attentive and engaged in the classroom, leading to better grades, higher attendance rates, and higher graduation rates. No-cost school meals for all ensure every child has healthy meals, giving them a better chance to achieve academic success.
If all students could eat at school at no cost there would be no shame. No-cost school meals would, once and for all, get rid of the stigma associated with free and reduced-price meals and end “lunch shaming” in North Carolina. After all, no child should be stigmatized because their parent or guardian cannot afford school meals.
No-cost school meals ensure every child has the opportunity to access nutritious meals. But it’s not a mandate – students can always decline a school meal.
Please support the health and academic achievement of North Carolina kids and include recurring funding for no-cost school meals in the budget. This appropriation will ensure every child in every public school in North Carolina will have access to breakfast and lunch at school at no cost to their families.