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A coalition for those who care about school meals

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School Meals for All is a coalition that believes “no child should go hungry and every child in every public school in North Carolina should have access to breakfast and lunch at school at no cost to their families.”

One in six children in North Carolina experience hunger on a daily basis. In our most rural counties, as many as one in three children experience hunger. Providing no-cost school meals to all students in North Carolina public schools will ensure every child has access to healthy, nutritious breakfast and lunch; promote student academic achievement; and eliminate meal debt and “lunch shaming.” Join us as we work to ensure that every child in every public school in North Carolina has access to breakfast and lunch at school at no cost to their families.

School Meals for All
Courtesy of School Meals for All

According to a press release, “North Carolina school districts are facing record-breaking debt following the expiration of pandemic-era federal benefits and rising food costs. For two school years, schools across the state and nation provided free meals to all students. This benefit expired before the 2022-2023 school year, and school meal debt in NC has since skyrocketed to $3.1 million at the end of December – a record.”

“Right now, children in North Carolina are held back by hunger,” says Morgan Wittman Gramann, executive director of the North Carolina Alliance for Health. “One in six children in North Carolina goes hungry every day. We know that when students have access to healthy meals at school they are more likely to succeed academically, less likely to be sick, and there are fewer suspensions. When all students have what they need, everybody benefits, inside the classroom and out.”

Yesterday, the coalition held a day of action to educate legislators and our communities about the importance of school meals for all.

If you care about school meals for all, here are some ways you can get involved.

Here is the website.

Here you can sign up for a listserv and email updates.

To learn more, watch this webinar:

Coalition leadership includes the North Carolina Alliance for Health, the Center for Black Health and Equity, Carolina Hunger Initiative, and ABC2. You can find a list of all of the coalition partners here.

The work of the coalition will continue long beyond the day of action.

Here are some ways the coalition invites you to be involved moving forward:

  • Contact your legislators.
  • Posting to social media.
  • Writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.
  • Sharing your school meals story.
  • Writing a thank you note to the school nutrition staff at your local school letting them know how much you appreciate them.
  • Asking your child’s school nutrition director if you can visit for breakfast or lunch. If you do, take a picture and share it on social media using #SchoolMealsForAllNC.
  • Asking your county commissioners, school board, board of health, and/or other local decision-making body to adopt the resolution in support of school meals for all.
Mebane Rash

Mebane Rash is the CEO and editor-in-chief of EducationNC.