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For millions of students across the country, school-provided lunches are the only meals they are guaranteed each day. Even though meals are often subsidized at a federal level, a staggering number of students are still unable to pay for those meals, sometimes causing their families to go into debt. Black-ish star Marsai Martin, along with school nutrition leaders, Urban School Food Alliance, and the national student-led coalition, Student Voice are committed to changing this unfortunate reality. 

School Lunch for All is a national campaign led by The Soze Agency and Galaxy Gives to ensure that school meals are provided, free of charge, to every K-12 student in America. To kick off the campaign, School Lunch for All is launching a Change.org petition which will put pressure on several legislative leaders including, the United States Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, reallocated COVID-19 relief funds to ensure that all students have access to free meals whenever doors reopen for the 2020-21 academic year. 

“With all the things that kids have to worry about while attending school, I believe a healthy lunch shouldn’t be one of them,” says Black-ish actor Marsai Martin. “Kids should be able to focus on learning while at school, not whether or not they have enough money to eat.”

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a campaign to make sure every student eats for free this upcoming school year, and beyond. We've created a petition calling for a program that'll make sure all K-12 students have access to free, daily school meals, without the threat of debt or humiliation. My grandma dedicated years of her life to making sure students were fed and taken care of at school, and now I'm honored to continue her mission❣️ Let's do this together and make sure students like Anya Howard — the brave young woman who shared her story with us — and every other student in this nation, have access to free school meals when they return to their classrooms. 1. Sign our petition at the link in my bio 2. Follow the #SchoolLunchForAll campaign ➡️ @schoollunchforall 3.Talk about this issue + encourage others to act!

A post shared by Marsai Martin (@marsaimartin) on

The petition was penned by Dwight Howard, grandfather of then-kindergartener Anya Howard who was refused a hot lunch at her Indiana school last year, and called out in front of her peers when it was discovered she did not have enough money on her account to cover the cost. Anya’s story made national headlines and is just one example of why school nutrition reform is so important. 

Katie Wilson, Ph.D., Executive Director of the Urban School Food Alliance, one of the collaborating organizations on the School Lunch for All initiative, reiterates the importance of school meal equity for the success of students. 

“The time has come to stop putting the burden of family income in exchange for school meals on the shoulders of our children,” says Dr. Wilson. “When they come to school, children can receive a bus ride, textbooks,  the most updated technology, science labs, and great learning opportunities as part of the school day. Only when it comes to school meals do we ask them for information about their family income. The science is clear,  a well-nourished child has a much better chance at success in the classroom and on the athletic field, so why do we tie the educational tool that school meals bring to the table to family income? School meals provide a benefit to local economies and America’s farmers, so let’s join together and make sure they also provide a benefit to the children they were meant to serve.  Make school meals a Universal free program.  The money saved in administrative paperwork can be reinvested in the quality of the food and health and wellbeing of our nation’s children can be reinvested in our future.  The time is now to invest in our children,  it is the right thing to do.”  

“As students, we believe that everyone has the right not to go hungry at school,” says partner organization Student Voice’s Director of Communications, Jenna Yuan. “Especially in a time of growing economic uncertainty because of COVID-19, ensuring that all students have access to free, nutritious school lunches must be a priority for lawmakers and educators. Without our basic needs like food met, it becomes impossible for us as students to effectively learn. Because so many low-income students and students of color rely on school lunch, sometimes as their primary source of food for the whole day, free school lunch is a critical social support both within our educational system and for families struggling economically. To allow us to achieve our potential, students must have access to free school lunches for all without fear of debt.”

We believe that no student should go hungry at school and that no child or family should experience financial strain, public shame, or debt in exchange for those meals.