CMS Students Need Free School Meals to Thrive and Learn


It’s that time of year when families gather to give thanks for the good things in their lives. But some families will struggle to do more than put a full holiday meal on the table. They’ll also have a hard time paying for their children to eat at school all year.

As a single mother of a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools graduate who received free meals in school for a while, I know firsthand that receiving nutritious meals in school brings stability and peace of mind to children and their guardians. 

We can spread that peace of mind simply by making school meals free for all children. And now a Mecklenburg County legislator has introduced a bill that would take us a step in that direction. 

First, here’s some background on school lunches that may surprise you. 

For a start, half of our children in public schools already rely on subsidized school lunches. In North Carolina,  58 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch. Nearly half (48.6 percent) of Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools’  143,000 students receive free meals.

While the school system doesn’t keep track of the race or ethnicity of students who receive free or reduced meals, it’s safe to assume that many students in the CMS program are minorities. Black and Hispanic students make up 63 percent of the CMS student population.


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