Marsai Martin, California
Hello, I’m Marsai Martin, and I am a 15 (almost 16 year old!) award-winning actress, producer, and entrepreneur. I am blessed to have a platform to use my voice for change, awareness and improving things that I believe could be of greater service to the world.
Before the world got to see me regularly in TV and movies, I was a normal kindergartener attending public school in a suburb of Dallas, Texas. My grandmother, Phyllis, worked at nearly every school I attended in some capacity, but she was primarily the ‘lunch lady.’ In this role, she would have a front row view of exactly which children were able to have a proper meal, and which ones would be turned away or given a cold cheese sandwich because their lunch account funds were too low to cover the cost of their lunch for the day. My grandmother would be reprimanded for giving her daily lunch allotment to a hungry child, because it was against the rules. She just wanted to help.
As a student in those same settings, I have witnessed kids spend lunch with their heads down at the table, hoping the time will pass quicker if they just closed their eyes and wished it to. I believe children should be able to go to school without worrying about getting teased for not being able to afford lunch. I believe that most people feel the same. My grandma passed away in 2016, but I have decided to make it my mission to help solve this issue in her honor.
That’s why I’m so excited to be working with School Lunch for All on their campaign to make sure every student eats for free this school year. And I’m working hard to make this a reality, but we can’t do it without you.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what’s at stake: More than 30 million children rely on schools for lunch every single day, but not all of them get it for free. This can cause students to go into debt, get shamed and get banned from major events like graduation.
And the thing is, free lunch for every student is 100% something we can achieve — we just need all hands on deck. If we’re loud, if we’re persistent, and if we can get enough people to listen, we can convince elected officials to get this done before the school year starts.
But we need your help, and the first step is signing our petition. Let’s do this together and make sure Anya Howard — the brave student who shared her story with us — and every other student in this nation, have access to school free meals when they return to classrooms.