These days, I'll take any step towards social justice as a major win. And we had one last night, when the Wood County WV school board voted 3-2 to provide free school breakfasts to all students in the county effective immediately and free lunches to all students in 14 schools with high poverty rates.
This is a big deal for several reasons:
1. Good nutrition can improve educational results and reduce discipline problems;
2. Eliminating the application process for free and reduced lunches eliminates stigma associated with poverty;
3. Providing free meals eases the burden on families struggling to make ends meet; and
4. Eliminating the application process can actually save schools money and let school nutrition staff concentrate on feeding kids rather than paperwork and bill collecting.
This victory was a long time coming. The board voted down the measure in 2012 and 2013 and many community advocates worked hard to make this happen.