This is the way to do it. If it’s a poor population, give it to all of them without any paperwork:
On Tuesday, First Lady Michelle Obama and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack will announce the expansion of a pilot program that gives all students, regardless of income, free school meals, including breakfast and lunch.
The original program targeted students in 11 states, but as of July 1, it will be expanded to 22,000 schools across the country where 40 percent or more of the students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches, a sign of a high concentration of poverty. The administration says this will reach 9 million children and help them “eat healthy meals at school, especially breakfast, which can have profound impacts on educational achievement.”
Programs that give all students free meals come with a variety of benefits. It eliminates the stigma children on free or reduced-price meals can experience, particularly when schools throw out their lunches and stamp their hands when their balances run low.
It can also save schools and parents a big headache when it comes to paperwork. Just half of the students who are eligible for free breakfast actually receive it, perhaps due to complications with getting enrolled. And in Boston, where the school district made all students eligible for free meals, there had previously been many families who fell just outside the income limits for the free meal program and are now able to participate.