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Free lunch on the menu

Parent leader Monique Lindsay presents Ricky Da Costa from the mayor’s office wi

Parent leader Monique Lindsay presents Ricky Da Costa from the mayor’s office with a lunch bag full of postcards as other advocates, including UFT Manhattan Parent Liaison Fran Streich (left), look on.

The UFT and other members of the Lunch 4 Learning coalition on Dec. 15 delivered to City Hall more than 9,000 postcards from public school parents asking to fund free school lunch for all 1.1 million New York City public school children. Currently, more than 76 percent of city students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch based on household income. Supporters of universal free lunch say the current income requirement creates a stigma that puts many children in the position of choosing between going hungry or feeling ashamed. They estimate an additional 47,000 children would get lunch if the program became universal at a cost of little more than a dollar per student per school day since the federal and state governments would cover 92 percent of the total cost. 

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