No More Hungry Kids: School Lunch Should be Free


Kaden Ellison

Thirteen million students go to school hungry. These children are from food insecure homes and are only able to have nutritional meals when they are at school. Universal free school lunch is not only the most ethical option but also economically makes sense as it allows schools to stop wasting money. 

Children deserve to eat food. Currently students are being punished with not being able to eat for situations that are not their fault, such as their parents’ economic standings, or simple mistakes that they make, such as not repeatedly paying online or in person for lunch. Free school lunch for all children would make sure that no one has to suffer through not eating the entire school day.

Free school lunch for all would cut down on the short term costs of having to process applications for free or reduced lunch. According to Feed Kids MA, at the moment schools spend twenty-nine dollars and sixty-eight minutes per application in administration costs in order to verify if the family is eligible. This time and money could be spent on other school programs that need to be improved instead of denying children the right to eat.

Having free school meals also improves student outcomes in both the short term in school and long term success later in life. In an experiment done by Syracuse University, students who were provided free and healthy school meals did better on tests for both English and Math compared to students who didn’t.

Additionally, according to Feed Kids MA, adults that received free school lunch got on average three percent higher paying jobs than similar students that didn’t. Having the government pay for school lunch is investing in our children’s future.

While some may say that the government is inefficient and that giving it more responsibility would be a waste of taxpayer money, a program that gives free lunch for all would be worth the cost. Students of food insecure families don’t have the opportunity to bring food from home and rely on the government to be able to eat.

Not only should children not have to worry about whether or not they are able to eat, but providing free lunch makes the most economical sense. While it might not be the best food, by giving everyone a chance to eat, it will be leagues ahead of our current system of kids going hungry.