All Boston Public School District students will be eligible for both free breakfast and lunch this year, regardless of their financial status, the district announced Tuesday.
Boston Public School (BPS) announced that over the summer BPS and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education joined a national program, currently available in 10 states and the District of Columbia.
The program, called the “Community Eligibility Option,” waives meal fees for all children regardless of income status and is also being implemented in cities such as Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago and parts of New York City.
“Every child has a right to healthy, nutritious meals in school, and when we saw a chance to offer these healthy meals at no cost to them, we jumped at the chance,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino.
“This takes the burden of proof off our low-income families and allows all children, regardless of income, to know healthy meals are waiting for them at school every day.”
Boston Public School Interim Superintendent John McDonough had the following to say about the new program:
“Children can focus on learning when they are well-fed, and families can focus on education when they don’t have to budget for school meals every week. This program makes sense for students. We expect that every major city will join this national program in the next few years – and we are able to put Boston’s families at the forefront.”
According to the Huffington Post, under standards previously used by the district, 78 percent of Boston Public School students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.
The report continued on to say that many of those who do not qualify for the traditional free meal program, fell just beyond the income limits.
“Community Eligibility is a great new option that helps low-income children have better access to healthy school meals and helps schools reduce administrative burdens,” said Jim Weill, President of the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC).
“Boston Public Schools has been a leader in the effort to increase participation in school meals, and FRAC applauds the City for quickly embracing this opportunity which will benefit every BPS student.”
What do you think of the Community Eligibility program? Now that Boston Public Schools can offer free meals to all of their students, they hope to see an increase in student participation within the classroom.
[Image via Shutterstock/Rob Marmion]