Free Lunch Programs Make A Big Difference in Student Success

Credit: NJTV

In July 2019, parents from the Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania received an unsettling letter from the school district.

The letter accused parents of negligent parenting for not being able to provide their children with lunch money and went on to threaten having their children sent to foster care if parents could not pay off their school lunch debt.

Response to the now infamous letter encouraged the school district to accept donations for parents’ lunch debt and shines a light on the uncomfortable reality that some students start and end the school day hungry.

The letter was sent to parents with an outstanding debt of $10 or more, but what are the costs of not providing free or reduced meals to students in need?

In October 2018, our partners at NJTV News reported on the success of school lunch programs and why they are vital for low-income students. Here’s their story on the nutritional, academic and even social benefits of New Jersey’s free/reduced school meal programs.