This year, all of the more than 1 million children enrolled in New York City public schools will be eligible for free lunch, regardless of how much money their parents make.
New York is one of the wealthiest cities in the world. Yet 75 percent (roughly 780,000 children), are eligible for free or reduced lunch due to their family income, which is less than $37,000 for a family of three.
Giving out lunch based on this criterion has led to what some observers have branded as "lunch shaming." As a result, many kids chose to skip lunch to avoid bullying.
New York City Council member Ben Kallos knows that effect all too well. He grew up in the Upper East Side section of Manhattan, which is known to be very wealthy, and attended the Bronx High School of Science. However, he stood out among his classmates.
"Not only did I come from a single parent household, but a multi-generational household, which meant I was eligible for free or reduced lunch," Ben Kallos, NYC Council member told CNBC's "On the Money."
He added that every day his friends would go out and buy lunch instead of staying in the cafeteria. So he had to make a choice between friends and food.
"I would tell them I wasn't hungry, when the truth is, I was starving," Kallos said.