Atlanta Public Schools is Serving Up Free Lunch This Year to All North Atlanta Warriors

Every school year seems to top the previous, whether it be the football team winning more games or the dress code getting less strict. This year is no different, with both breakfast and lunch being offered to the majority of Atlanta Public Schools students for free, no matter what the student’s financial status is. This is the case for all 77 of the elementary, middle, and high schools who use the district food service in Atlanta Public Schools. 

Free lunch was implemented this year as a result of The Community Eligibility Provision, a program created in 2010 by the United States Congress. This program states that the U.S. Department of Agriculture must provide financial backing for all school systems in which more than 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. The logic is that all students should be given balanced meals in order to help them maintain a healthy lifestyle and help them perform better in school. “If they’ve eaten, they will have the complete attention that they need,” said Marilyn Hughes, executive director of the district’s nutrition department, as quoted in an APS press release.  

Many North Atlanta students have seen some changes in the cafeteria as a result of the implementation of this program. They have noticed that there are many more students eating school lunch in the cafeteria, and the lunch lines are longer than they have been in previous years. Junior Maddie Bartlett noticed this difference right away.  “Even on the first day of school, you could notice that the dynamic had changed,” she said. “So many more students were suddenly lining up for their complementary school lunch. It was a big change from my 9th and 10th grade years.” 

Despite the drawback of longer lines, this program is great news for students and families in the Atlanta Public Schools district, as many other schools nationwide are cracking down on parents with lunch money debt with extreme consequences. A New Jersey school district has been all over the news in the past few weeks for stating that all parents must pay their childrens lunch debts, or they could face child abuse charges. Because of this issue many of the students are being served simply cheese sandwiches until they pay off their dues, or in some cases, no lunch at all. 

In the end, the free lunch service is having a huge positive impact on Atlanta Public Schools students. Students are being well fed without having to worry about where the money for lunch is coming from, which is beneficial for both the mental and physical health of students. Most North Atlanta students can’t wait to see what’s being served up next.