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UFT and other advocates push for universal school meals

A coalition of 69 food, education and public health groups have sent a letter to mayoral candidates asking them to make school lunch free for all students because of the stigma of poverty attached with free and reduced lunch for a certain group of students.

“Currently, many students do not eat school lunch or breakfast because of the long-standing income-based stigma of participating in the program,” the letter reads. “Offering universal free and healthy school meals without identifying students by income is fundamental to eliminating stigma and increasing participation.”

Seventy-five percent of NYC public school students have family income low enough to qualify for free or reduced lunch, according to the Department of Education.

The group of advocates includes the United Federation of Teachers, the YMCA of Greater New York, a chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Aid Society and The After School Corporation.

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