When All Kids Eat for Free
Congress is considering a rule change to the school-nutrition law that would bar thousands of schools from offering complimentary lunch to all students.
Much has been made recently of Detroit’s resurgence and growth. In January, President Obama made a swing through the Motor City, touting “something special happening in Detroit.” Yet the comeback has not been evenly felt across the city. The Michigan League for Public Policy’s 2016 Kids Count Data Profilerevealed a major fault line earlier this year. From 2006 to 2014, child poverty in Detroit increased by 29 percent, to about 94,000 children or well more than half (57 percent) of the city’s population under the age of 18.* The unavoidable conclusion: Many of Detroit’s youngest residents remain mired in hardship and hunger.
Wiggins said the program allows districts like hers to feed more hungry kids. “In income-insecure households, the first item to be reduced is food, in both quantity and quality,” she said. Since CEP, Detroit has experienced an average daily participation increase of 22 percent across the district. She anticipates that with the higher eligibility limit almost 8,000 fewer breakfasts and about 9,300 fewer lunches would be served to students each day. This represents a projected 40 percent drop in eligible high-school students who will abandon school meals, Wiggins said, because of the “consequential identification” of being a free-lunch student. Additionally, CEP reduces administrative costs associated with processing school meals applications. Wiggins said the cost of printing, How Many Schools Should Be Eligible to Provide Free Lunch Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act? - The Atlantic: