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Lawmakers, advocates push for free breakfast and lunch at all schools in New York

State lawmakers say they want to see free breakfast and lunch in schools. But they don’t want to see any conditions placed on it.

Right now there are rules and regulations that determine whether students, and their families, qualify for free or reduced lunch.

Now, members of state Senate and Assembly say it’s time to move toward the process that existed during the pandemic. At that time, all families qualified for free breakfast and lunch.


“To be schooled you must be fueled, to be well read you must be well fed,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America explained. The provision allowing all students to get free breakfast and lunch ended in June.

There are approximately 700,000 students who will lose access to free meals. This will particularly effect poor, rural districts.

A letter from lawmakers calls on Governor Kathy Hochul to include free breakfast and lunch in the 2023 budget.

“Students without proper nutrition struggle to focus and are at greater risk of mental and physical health problems,” it reads. “We urge you to fund free health school meals for all New York students in your 2023-2024 executive budget.”

Right now, the cut off sits at household income of little more than $51,000 per year for a family of four. Advocates say that isn’t enough to pay for increasingly expensive meals at schools.



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