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Boise School District: No More Lunch-Shaming

Primary School Pupils Enjoying Packed Lunch In Classroom
Getty Images/Monkey Business

In school, when a child reaches the limit on their lunch account, they won’t be served food any longer. The thought of this was unacceptable to the Boise School District so they have implemented a program to where every child will eat.

 

As with most every public school, the Boise School Districts have free and reduced lunch programs available for students who aren’t able to bring a cold lunch from home and cannot pay for a hot lunch at school.

 

There’s a little hitch in the program which is what has led to the term “lunch shaming“. In schools, children register for the program where they receive free lunch or lunch at a reduced rate. The reason: They can’t afford to pay for food. Where the shame comes in is when the reduced lunch accounts drop to a certain amount, the staff working the school cafeteria are told not to serve the child a full hot lunch. In some cases, they are instructed to serve a “lesser” item to the child. The lunch they would have purchased had their account been at a level to allow them to pay for the meal is thrown in the garbage.

 

The thought of any of this happening to a child makes me want to throw up. There’s absolutely no way on this earth that I would ever stand for a child to be deprived of food and especially a lunch that has been made accessible to them. They are dependent on adults to care for them and that’s what we should be doing. There’s a whole story on a woman losing her job over not following the rules. In my eyes (and yours, if you’re still reading this) she’s a hero.

 

ANTI-LUNCH SHAMING PROGRAM IN BOISE

A significant number of students in the Boise School District take advantage of the free and reduced lunch programs available. There was a gap between those who were able to pay for lunches and those who qualified for assistance. The kids who were right in between didn’t have an option – until now.

 

The Boise School District now has a program that calculates how many children qualify for free lunches based off food stamp statistics. At schools with the program, there are so many students who qualify that the district is able to provide those free lunches for everyone.

 

What happens next?

 

The kids eat. During lunch time, all children eat and they all are the same. The students head back to class with full tummies and are set up for the rest of the day.

 

Anything can happen in life. I’m lucky to have a steady income but that certainly doesn’t mean things are super-easy being a mom of an 8-year old. The money flows out of my bank account a lot more quickly than it comes in. There have been days where we’re scraping together a lunch for my son to take to school. Add on an unexpected life emergency, a loss of a job, a separation, a move, a debt being collected out of the blue – you name it – and you’re in a place where you’re wondering how that lunch will be paid for.

 

There’s no shame in asking for help and there’s no shame in accepting help. We’ve all got to stick together and do what we are able when we are able.

 

Next: Free Lunch All Summer for Kids

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