Earlier this week, a Facebook friend posted a status sharing the news that all Boston school children will now get free breakfast and lunch courtesy of a Federal program called the Community Eligibility Option, regardless of the parents' ability to pay. I found the debate that followed the post interesting and chose to participate myself.
Basically, the program was put into place because too many parents were sending their kids to school without food or even the money to purchase food. The schools were dealing with an epidemic of kids who didn't have any food in their bellies for 8+ hours. Wow.
Perhaps the parents couldn't afford to feed their children but found filling out paperwork too difficult (especially if English isn't their primary language) or too invasive (they didn't want to publicly list their salary).
Perhaps the parents just forgot to give their kids money. And of course, there is always the small segment of parents that just couldn't be bothered.
Whatever the reason is, instead of penalizing the offending parents, we're now using our tax dollars to feed all kids, regardless of need. In Boston apparently 40% of children all qualify for a subsidized lunch. But what about the other 60% Why can't their parents pay?
Let's not even talk about the crap that these kids are eating because that's another discussion entirely. Instead let's talk about parental responsibility. We need to feed our children. That's a basic requirement. When we start ceding these responsibilities to the state, what comes next???
Please understand that I am in no way against providing assistance to children in need. And I truly believe that children need food in their bellies to be able to learn. They shouldn't suffer because of the actions or inaction of their parents. I firmly believe in "hand ups". But when that "hand up" turns into a "hand out", I start taking issue.
Programs like this create a culture of dependency and make it so easy for people who have no business having kids to have even more. And then we as a society become burdened with caring for those children, whether it be financial care through taxes or physical care through fostering. This is not going to be sustainable and it will affect our economy, our healthcare system, our school systems, basically every aspect of society. It needs to be addressed before it gets any more out of hand.
So when all kids will start getting a free junk-food lunch, it makes my job of providing a healthy lunch to my child more difficult. Christopher cried to me the other day when I picked him up from school because it was pizza day and all the other kids got pizza but not him. He cried, "I hate our gluten free diet!!"
The thing is, I don't want my kid hating healthy food. I want him to love it and embrace it. How do I do that however when he is surrounded by junk food being labeled as healthy?
I don't see this issue going away anytime soon and I guess I just need to educate my kid on what's healthy and what's not. What else can I do?
Anyway, I've got to get off Blogger because my child is telling me he's hungry and I've got to go feed him his healthy, nutritious breakfast because he wants some (gluten free) brownies instead. Signing off now!
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