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The New York City public school system joins several other major school districts in offering free meals to all students. This ends hunger for scores of students from low-income families who cannot afford to pay for meals.

New York City Public Schools Chancellor Carmen Farina announced on Wednesday that all 1.1 million public school students will receive free lunch, ABC News New York reports.

The New York Times said about 75 percent of the city’s students already qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. This policy change means that schools will now offer free lunches to an additional 200,000 students. Breakfast is already free to all students.

Advocates have been pushing New York City to join other major school districts, like those in Boston, Chicago and Dallas, to provide free lunches, The Times reported.

According to many children’s advocates, students from working-class families often cannot afford to pay for lunch every day, which adds up to about $300 a year for New York City families. Consequently, those kids choose to skip lunch rather than admit their situation to peers.

Many school districts nationwide are searching for solutions to lunch shaming, in which school officials publicly embarrass students who cannot pay their lunch bill.

U.S. News & World Report highlighted an incident in New Mexico in which a cafeteria worker threw away a 4-year-old girl’s lunch because her family failed to pay the lunch bill.

In another case, CBS News Denver reported that a Colorado school district reportedly fired a cafeteria manager after she gave lunches free to elementary school students who did not have the money to pay.

SOURCE:  ABC News New York, New York Times, U.S. News & World Report, CBS News Denver

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