One of the most significant food policy initiatives this year was the decision by Mayor de Blasio to expand universal free school lunch to all public schools. This means that all 1.1 million public school students will be able to eat for free, eliminating the stigma that occurs when some children pay and others qualify for free lunch because of their low-income status. While approximately three-quarters of New York City’s public school students are poor enough to qualify for free lunch, approximately 200,000 students who did not qualify will benefit from the new policy. The estimated savings to their families, most of whom are low and moderate-income, is about $300 per year.
The following Google map shows the number of students per school who did not qualify for free lunch (based on 2015 data), but now will be able to partake in the lunch program for free. (Click on a specific school to see the underlying data.)