New York City will be sending $420 to every child who benefits from the federal free lunch program to offset the cost of food. The amount was arrived at by taking the daily cost of lunch, $5.70 per student per day, and multiplying it by the length of the lockdown. This according to local education blog Chalkbeat.
New York City public schools participate in the federal free lunch program, which has been disrupted since schools have been shut down. While many schools have tried to continue with the program, repacking breakfasts and lunches for take away, school children in New York have primarily been without this vital, sustaining resource.
Additionally, suppliers have had nowhere to distribute their perishable foods. Enter the City of New York with a new plan to give $420 to the families of every student who benefits from the federal school lunch program, which includes all public school students as well as many private and parochial pupils as well.
All school children in New York, regardless of income level, can participate in the free lunch program. The city is considered to be a universal free lunch district. The amount of the distribution is retroactive from the time of school closures, on March 16, and should cover through June 26, which is the last day of classes.
The cost of the program statewide will be over $880 million in federal funding. It will ensure that hungry kids get the food they need, and that those businesses that provide those resources have something to do with their products.
Some families who receive this aid will be accepting public assistance for the first time, but Joshua Goodman, a spokesperson for the city, said that they should have no qualms about using the funds.
"This is an important program that is going to benefit a lot of people,” he said via email. "This crisis is exactly what public benefits like P-EBT were made for, and there is no reason to feel reluctant to use it to take care of your family."
Approximately 2 million of New York City's citizens are going hungry due to ongoing unemployment because of coronavirus caused business closures and restrictions.
Students in New York have been participating in remote learning since a week after the schools were closed, to varying degrees of success. Most kids are involved in a Google Classroom, where assignments are posted and students are expected to work independently, or with parent help, to complete the assignments.
For kids who are used to books, classroom participation, teacher guidance, and hands-on learning, the switch to virtual has been a brutal transition.
Perhaps this extra $420 for snacks will lighten the burden on families who are trying to provide sustenance, education, and caring to the city's more than 1.1 million school children.