Coming TO NEW york city this Fall: 838,000 students with access to universal free school lunch!
by: Liz Accles
Executive Director, community food advocates
Friends and Partners,
Big news!: We've made a great leap forward towards free school lunch for all in NYC! We are thrilled to announce that the Fiscal Year 2018 City budget agreement includes expansion of universal free school lunch to most public school students across all neighborhoods and grade levels.
Our preliminary analysis shows that an additional 475,000 students in 890 schools will benefit from equal and universal access to free school lunch in NYC. This brings the total to 828,000 students (84% of the student population) in 90% of all k-12 schools!
This is a momentous step forwards towards addressing the stigma and shame in our cafeterias and mitigating the affordability crisis for families struggling to make ends meet and provide their children with nutritious meals.
Before we plan our next phase of work and implementation, we want to pause and celebrate this truly amazing accomplishment. The Lunch 4 Learning campaign kicked off four years ago, and each year our incredible base of partners has grown.
In our first year we secured universal free school lunch for free standing middle schools. This was an important first step, but each year we ramped up the fight.
This year, with a game-changing commitment from New York State Health Foundation, we were able to work with the strategic communications firm, Global Strategy Group, who, together with the New York City Council, the Public Advocate, and all five borough presidents; our union partners,
DC 37, UFT, and CSA; the Lunch 4 Learning Parent Caucus and student leaders; pediatricians; and anti-hunger and community-based organizations, really helped lift our work up in ways that the de Blasio administration could no longer ignore. We truly could not have spearheaded and sustained the Lunch 4 Learning campaign over the years without the dedication and support of so many people.
This has been a labor of love for all of us here at Community Food Advocates, and we are very excited to begin work to ensure effective implementation in each school and make sure New York is a truly universal free school lunch city with no student left out.
Community Food Advocates
LUNCH 4 LEARNING IN THE MEDIA
Read Bloomberg's coverage of the NYC budget:
"NYC Budget Deal Has Millions
for Youth Jobs, Free School Lunches" and
view NBC 4 New York's ongoing coverage
of the Lunch 4 Learning campaign
For a full list of press coverage from NY1,
the New York Daily News, HuffPost, News
12 Brooklyn (and many others!) since the
new year, view our press page here.
STUDENT TESTIMONY ELEVATES L4L CAMPAIGN
Students meet with Council Member
Margaret Chin after providing testimony
before City Council Finance Committee
High school student leaders from
Community Food Advocates' Youth Justice
League testified before City Council on May
25th, shortly before the budget was released.
The students rounded out a chorus of
requests for expansion of universal.
Finance Committee Chairwoman,
Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and others,
praised the students for their advocacy and
eloquent, deeply personal testimony.
LOOKING BACK ON A MOMENTOUS YEAR: 2017 HIGHLIGHTS
8,000+ Postcards Delivered to the Mayor & November 15th Rally
Parents and Community Members Speak Out About Universal
Spring 2017: Donald Nesbit, Executive Vice President of Local 372, DC 37 (pictured), parents, community and union members speak out about universal in targeted ads throughout NYC.
May 15th Rally
Center: Ksenia Novikova, student at New Utrecht High School and Youth Justice League member speaks; Left: Councilman Peter Koo, Brooklyn Deputy Borough President Diana Reyna; Councilman Vincent Gentile; Right: Councilman Ben Kallos; Councilman Richie Torres; Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson
Youth group Teenergetic and other youth advocates at the May 15th rally
Students and Celebrities Weigh In
Youth make posters for the May 15th rally Rachael Ray releases ad in support of the L4L campaign
And CCCNY for their analysis of universal's impact on moderately low-income families in NYC
Students meet with Council Member Margaret Chin after providing testimony before City Council Finance Committee