MomsRising members are on-the-ground right now at the NC General Assembly urging our state lawmakers to include funding for school meals for all in the budget this legislative session. Will you back us up?
→ Can you back us up by sending your lawmaker a note right now? Our message urging lawmakers to fund school meals for all in NC is much more powerful if your lawmakers are hearing from you by email at the same time that they’re seeing us walk the halls of the General Assembly!
The urgency to include funding in this year’s budget is because right now children in North Carolina are held back by hunger. One in six children in NC goes hungry on a daily basis; in our most rural communities, as many as one in three children are hungry every day. School meals are often the only way students facing hunger get reliable, consistent, and nutritious meals on a regular basis. CLICK HERE to tell NC lawmakers to ease the hunger pains of North Carolina children right now by funding school meals for all in this year’s budget.
Your fellow North Carolina MomsRising members are meeting with lawmakers today and sharing their personal stories of food insecurity to illustrate why we need free school meals for all children in North Carolina. Here is one story being shared today:
I have an 8-year-old daughter. There was a time when I couldn’t apply for free food for her at school, and it was very hard and a little stressful when I got the letter from school saying that I owed them money. I think she ordered breakfast without thinking, children don’t know if they have credit or if their parents are going to pay or not, that’s why I think it would be good for all children to get free breakfast. Even though my daughter ate breakfast at home, and I packed her lunch, she was hungry and when she saw her classmates ordering food, she also wanted to eat what they had at school.
This mom is not alone. A lot of families fall into what’s called the “missing middle”-- for example, a hard-working NC family of 5 who makes $51,339 a year struggles to put food on the table, but their children don’t qualify for reduced-price meals. 
In addition to reducing child hunger, the benefits of school meals for all include increased academic achievement, improved health, and the elimination of “lunch shaming” and stigma. Here’s the data:
- Increased Academic Achievement: Studies conducted in NC have found that schools that make breakfast and lunch available to all students at no cost had higher academic performance on average compared to schools with similar incomes that did not; had students who were less likely to be absent, especially in elementary school and middle school; and had students who were significantly less likely to receive an out-of-school suspension in middle school and high school. [2,3]
- Improved Health: Receiving free or reduced-price school lunches reduces poor health by at least 29%. 
- Elimination of Lunch Shaming and Stigma: Students will often go hungry rather than be embarrassed and shamed in front of their peers. One in three students eligible for free or reduced price meals skip their meals due to stigma and shame.