Free and Reduced Lunch

04 Feb

Below is the chart identifying family income for students who qualify for free lunch in California public schools. I got it from here if you want the source.

Free Eligibility Scale
Meals, Snacks, and Milk

Household Size Annual Monthly Twice Per Month Every Two Weeks Weekly
1 $14,079 $1,174 $587 $542 $271
2 $18,941 $1,579 $790 $729 $365
3 $23,803 $1,984 $992 $916 $458
4 $28,665 $2,389 $1,195 $1,103 $552
5 $33,527 $2,794 $1,397 $1,290 $645
6 $38,389 $3,200 $1,600 $1,477 $739
7 $43,251 $3,605 $1,803 $1,664 $832
8 $48,113 $4,010 $2,005 $1,851 $926
For each additional family member, add: + $4,862 + $406 + $203 + $187 + $94

This is the chart for lunch at a reduced cost:

Reduced-Price Eligibility Scale
Meals and Snacks

Household Size Annual Monthly Twice Per Month Every Two Weeks Weekly
1 $20,036 $1,670 $835 $771 $386
2 $26,955 $2,247 $1,124 $1,037 $519
3 $33,874 $2,823 $1,412 $1,303 $652
4 $40,793 $3,400 $1,700 $1,569 $785
5 $47,712 $3,976 $1,988 $1,836 $918
6 $54,631 $4,553 $2,277 $2,102 $1,051
7 $61,550 $5,130 $2,565 $2,368 $1,184
8 $68,469 $5,706 $2,853 $2,634 $1,317
For each additional family member, add: + $6,919 + $577 + $289 +$267 + $134

For a family of 3, that means two parents with one kid, or one parent with two kids, the annual income is $23,803 for free lunch and $33,874 for reduced lunch. My campus is at 82% free and reduced lunch. This blows my mind. Most families are more like 4, 5, or 6 members. When I look at these numbers, I can’t imagine trying to raise a family with multiple children with such low income in southern California.

What’s it like to grow up in a house where simply eating lunch is a financial burden on the family? I know some people’s response is “yeah, but look at their shoes, cell phones, and video games. If they would just be wise with their money, they could feed their kids.” We won’t even get started on that. Read more about the culture of poverty and generational and situational poverty before traveling down that line of reasoning. These numbers are why if kids ask for basic supplies, I provide them. I used to tell them: “you can get paper, pencils, and notebooks at the dollar store. It’s only a dollar.” I don’t say that anymore. That dollar should go to food. I don’t have much to say about this. It’s really more about processing the situation.

I was blessed to never have to live out something like this. My mom grew up in complete poverty in the Philippines. I know a lot of her drive to work so much when I was growing up was out of fear that her family would experience some sort of poverty. She is one of the people who came to the US to live the American dream, and she achieved it. Her success has been a big part of all the success I have been able to achieve. I love her and thank her for her sacrifices so that I could have a good education and therefore be gainfully employed.

I hope that for the rest of my days in the classroom I help, encourage, and show kids the value of education and how education truly is a way to break out of situational and generational poverty and that they don’t have to live the same life as an adult.


1 Comment

Posted by on February 4, 2011 in education


Tags: ,

One response to “Free and Reduced Lunch

  1. David

    February 4, 2011 at 6:25 am

    A majority of my school gets free lunch too. I’m amazed as well w/ this graph. Often times, our kids express that the food at lunch is the only food they get. That makes me sad… especially when (my kids at least) they want to perform well in school… having an entire 1st period who doesn’t eat breakfast??? yikes!


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