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  • Writer's picturePaul Ruseau

Universal Free Lunch

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Beginning in the fall of 2019 Medford Public Schools began offering universal free breakfast at all of our schools. This is an important first step. There is more to do.

Lunch is a stressful time for many children - it is an intensely social experience, but also one where an awful lot must happen in a very short period of time.

Now imagine you know you are going to go to lunch, smell the foods, see your peers eating, and you are not going to be eating. You are hungry. Words can describe what you might imagine that is like for a hungry child - but the visceral experience is plenty to shake you. It shakes me. I remember.

School Food Service programs have some pretty wacky regulations handed down from the Federal Government. Some are great, some are not. Some regulations are written to ensure business for US Agriculture, even if that isn't what's best for our students.

A level playing field for children is really important - it is an American value - even if it isn't necessarily a reality. Everyone knows that much of American life is stacked in favor of the haves (such as myself).

It is time we get real on our values. Hungry children in our care is an abomination and a direct violation of the values I hold, and the values I believe represent Medford.

I will work with the School Committee, Mayor and City Council, and the district administration to get to the goal of universal free lunch for all of Medford's students. This will not be easy, and likely not be free to the district.

But I remember - and I will never forget what it was like to be a hungry child.

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