Every day I get email updates from the Los Angeles Unified School District, where my two younger children are students. These emails discuss distance education and celebrate the amazing teachers working to keep their students learning, but the emails are focused on food. The amount of children who depend on the school system for at least two of their meals per day is staggering. To attempt to address this need, the district, the second biggest school district in the country, opened 60 grab and go food centers for its students and their families. Yesterday it provided 90,000 meals.
In Los Angeles, 80% of students qualify for free or reduced-price meals, and in some areas the percentage is close to 90%. The New York School system includes close to 114,000 homeless children.
Right now, we have to feed these kids, but this crisis has made stunningly clear the role of schools in our food system, the magnitude of which is far broader than school lunch and shows that arguments about the nutritional profile of school food are of immense and critical importance.