The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

The Student News Site of Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School

The General Consensus

School lunches should be free for all students

Sofie Greene
Hamilton Wenham school cafeteria provides free breakfast and lunches for all students due to National School Lunch Program.

Should students have to worry about whether they can afford school lunches? Free school meals keep nutritious food on kids’ plates and stress off families’ shoulders. After the pandemic, 19.5% of families in Massachusetts struggled with food insecurity, resulting in many students not being able to afford school lunches. 

School lunch should not be a worry for any student or family, and kids should be able to get lunch without worrying about whether they have enough money. 

Many students have trouble focusing in school when they are hungry. stated that before the pandemic, teachers noticed that 80% of students that were hungry couldn’t concentrate in classes. also noticed a 76% decrease in academic performance in students who were hungry throughout the school day.

According to, a sufficient lunch ensures that students have the nutrition they need throughout the day to learn. When given a healthy, balanced lunch, students are much more likely to be able to focus throughout the day.

In addition, when students get a healthy lunch daily, they can develop positive eating habits. If students aren’t able to get the food they need daily because they can’t afford it, this could lead to diseases or sicknesses later on in their lives. According to, students with healthy eating habits have a reduced risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Additionally, providing free lunches can help the household budget. Parents spend an average of $1,200 per year per child on lunch, Project Bread. This money could be put towards savings for their children’s future or health care needs. If parents are worried about spending their money on food for their children’s lunch, they are taking money away from other important needs. 

Many homeowners are concerned about how the state will be able to acquire the money needed for free school meals and want to ensure taxes are not raised.

According to, the state of Massachusetts is allowing all public schools to receive free school meals for all students. This will result in a 4% tax raise for residents with an income of over $1 million. This is known as the “Fair Share Amendment,” which was passed in November 2022. $224 million of this text money will be used to ensure free lunches for students K-12. 

A key way many schools in Massachusetts are getting free lunches for their students is through The National School Lunch Program. This federally funded program is used in public and non-public schools. The program provides reduced-cost or free lunches to children each school day. 

Currently, 99.2% of public schools in Massachusetts use the National School Lunch Program. Hopefully, this will reach 100% soon. Even though some students can bring lunch from home, it is reassuring to know that if a student does not have lunch, they will be able to get a school lunch without worrying about the cost. 

Hopefully, in the coming years, students will all also be able to get a free breakfast from school as well. This would cut down on many more costs for families nationwide. According to, 69% of schools provide breakfast to students, but not all of those provide free breakfast alongside free lunch. 

Worrying about whether or not they can afford school lunches should be the last thing that students stress out about at school. While students in Massachusetts don’t have to worry about lunch due to the National School Lunch Program, only eight other states have a similar plan.  Please write to your state representative and ask them to sponsor a bill that will ensure that no student goes hungry at lunchtime. 

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About the Contributor
Sofie Greene, Student Journalist
Sofie Greene is a freshman at Hamilton-Wenham Regional High School and is writing for The General Consensus. Sofie has liked writing about different topics all through middle and high school, so she was excited when placed into journalism. She wants to expand her knowledge of article writing. Sofie likes to play sports outside of school and hang out with her friends.

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