ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (WCAX) New York Governor Andrew Cuomo made a lot of proposals in his State of the State address, including a new campaign to try and fight child hunger in local school cafeterias.
Governor Cuomo says almost one million New York children don't have consistent access to foods needed to live active, healthy lifestyles. That's what sparked the idea behind his "No Student Goes Hungry" campaign. Because our greatest asset is for our young people and everything we do is for their futures," he said.
Superintendent Scott Osborne from the Elizabethtown Lewis Central school district helped explain what exactly is in the proposal, including an effort to ban "lunch shaming." "Where a student can't afford school lunch --many schools or states took a stance about how to approach kids. Most of the time that was done publically," he said.
In his research, Osbourne said he read cases where they would call students over the intercom about an over due bill, or even make students receiving lunch subsidies wash the cafeteria tables. "there's a way to handle those situations and still maintain our kids integrity," he said.
Another part of the governor's plan would boost farm to school programs to give students more access to farm-fresh foods. Under the Cuomo plan, a school that uses at least 30-percent locally-grown ingredients would qualify for more state aid -- something already happening at his school. "We're proud to be able to say that, and were proud that more kids are eating in our cafeteria. I think it's a nice connection, and I think it's a logical one," Osborne said.
The proposal also brings awareness to school breakfast -- if a school has more than 70-percent of students eligible for free or reduced price lunch, the school will be required to serve breakfast even after class starts. That last part of the proposal will require SUNY and CUNY schools to have on-campus food banks.
"Out of all the hunger concerns across the country, hunger concerns in college is actually the highest percentage," Osborne said.
The governor's proposals must still win the support of the State Assembly and the Senate.