By: Serena Crawford
Baltimore students will never have to worry about going hungry while they are at school because they can’t afford to buy lunch or bring one. It was announced on Tuesday that all Baltimore public schools will now be offering free food to every child no matter whether they are part of the free lunch program or not. This effort is brought about by the Hunger Free Schools Act of 2015. It is a law that states that any school which has a 40% low income student population or more may give all children in the school free food. Every school in Baltimore has at least 40% of the student body that is considered low income and so they are all eligible to take part in this program.
Sadly a large majority of the students in the Baltimore school system are homeless. A total of 84% of students in Baltimore qualified for the free or reduced lunch program due to their parents’ income. Those students who are homeless and didn’t have any parents to fill out the necessary paperwork to qualify for the free lunch program were not allowed to participate and ended up very hungry throughout the day. Now they do not have to worry about whether there is someone there to sign papers or not. They will be able to eat during the day without having to worry about the cost. The program covers not only lunch but breakfast as well.
Not only will this new initiative help kids get a balanced meal through the day but it will also help them academically. When you go to school hungry and know that you aren’t getting food any time soon that is all that you can concentrate on. This means that there is a lack of focus and grades suffer because of it. Children also need vitamins and minerals to keep their brains healthy and prepared for the task at hand. Maryland State Delegate Keith Haynes, who gave the Baltimore schools the good news, stated that this is a win for everyone and he believes that they will see a tremendous impact.