Calls for universal school lunch have come and gone over the years, but they gained volume immediately after Hurricane Sandy, when the DOE instituted an interim universal school lunch program. The approach seemed to hold promise as a way to improve the city's lunch participation numbers.
As our Ruth Ford reported in early 2013:
According to data supplied to the Independent Budget Office from the DOE, in school year 2011-2012, the city on an average day served 492,795 free lunches (reaching 68 percent of eligible low-income children); 51,526 reduced-price lunches (reaching 56 percent of eligible children), and 97,915 full-price lunches (reaching 39 percent of eligible children).
According to Community Food Advocates, studies have shown that students who participate in school breakfast programs have improved math and reading scores, have fewer behavioral issues and have fewer absences and lateness. Children who participate in school lunch overall consume more vegetables, grains and milk and fewer sweetened beverages and snacks.