A broad coalition of parents and advocates is calling on Mayor de Blasio to fulfill his campaign promise of free school lunches for all city students.
The group, which calls itself the Lunch 4 Learning Campaign’s Parent Caucus, delivered a letter to de Blasio in support of universal free school lunch on Feb. 18.
CITY STUDENTS URGE MAYOR TO FUND FREE LUNCH TO ALL CITY SCHOOL KIDS
De Blasio called universal free lunch a crucial project at a September 2013 campaign stop, but failed to fund the project in his 2016 budget.
The mayor has said he does not support the measure because of mixed results from a pilot free-lunch program in the city’s middle schools.
But boosters say universal free lunch will improve academics and reduce the stigma that students face when they sign up for free meals.
POLS CALL ON BILL DE BLASIO TO EXTEND FREE LUNCH FOR ALL PUBLIC SCHOOL KIDS
“All the city’s wonderful education initiatives will fall flat if children are going through the day hungry,” said Liz Accles, executive director of Community Food Advocates, who is organizing the push for free school lunches. “Children have trouble concentrating if they’re not eating.”
The letter, signed by an influential list of activists from around the city, praises de Blasio for rolling out free lunches at the middle schools. But that’s not enough, the activists say.
“The majority of our city’s children are still unnecessarily subjected to the inequities and stigma encountered in the income-based school lunch system,” the letter says.
Signers of the letter include representatives from more than two dozen parent-teacher associations and local school boards.
Elected officials, including city Public Advocate Letitia James and City Council Education Committee Chairman Daniel Dromm (D-Queens), have previously called on de Blasio to institute free lunch at all city schools.
Free lunch is already offered in other cities, including Boston, Chicago, Detroit and Philadelphia.
De Blasio spokesman Austin Finan said the city already offers free lunch at all stand-alone middle schools and schools for severely disabled kids.
“We are committed to ensuring our students receive healthy meals in school, and will continue to monitor this program,” Finan said.