I am reaching out to express my support for universal school meals in Vermont. I am a recent resident of Middlebury, a longtime former resident of Brandon, and the mother of two children in the public school system.
As a mother and a former student in the public school system, I am aware of how emotionally charged the half-hour that is spent in the school cafeteria during lunch can be. Worry over what to eat — a packed lunch, cafeteria fare, or nothing at all — shouldn’t be added to the list of concerns on a child’s plate during the already busy school day. Lunch expense and stigma around the “lunch line” being reserved for kids from “free and reduced lunch families” should not be added to worries over where to sit, what to say and what to wear.
I have personally observed the way that temporary free breakfast and lunch at my children’s school during Covid has leveled the playing field for kids in the cafeteria. Even kids with packed lunches try out the free lunch options, narrowing the divide in lunchroom behavior. At least during breakfast and lunch on the weekdays, these students’ brains all get a shot at the same injection of nutrition that can help them thrive in their schoolwork, and in the even more important work of social learning.
I support funding universal school meals as an education expense and hope you will help spread the word to support S.100.
Karin S. Mott