If you have ever spoken to a relative or friend who lived through the Great Depression, you will learn how the little things in life, that most of us take for granted, meant so much during that time. If we are lucky, we will never know the want those who lived through that period experienced. Unfortunately, 1 in 6 of us might.
It is difficult to understand the many programs Donald Trump is destroying—programs his base depends upon. It is especially tough to comprehend what will be destroyed in education. But I thought I would delve today specifically into hunger.
Two of the programs in danger described by Thomas Philpott in Mother Jones are the Child and Adult Care Program, which provides meals and snacks to about 3.7 million children everyday in day care, and Meals on Wheels which assists senior citizens and helps them live at home and not in senior living. When my own grandmother was dying, Meals on Wheels assisted my family, helping her to live as independently as possible in her home.
Hunger, for many, is difficult to grasp. We run down the grocery aisle, upset we have to food shop when we’d rather be doing something else, wondering whether it’s worth it to spend on organic or non-organic, or questioning gluten-free and non-GMO foods, dairy or non-dairy, whether our seafood is safe, and how to eat less, or any, meat—all worthy questions. While we do this, 13.1 million children eat sketchy meals at best.
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney claims they have no evidence federal programs that provide after-school food aid to low-income kids makes a difference in their learning. But there are many studies that indicate hunger affects how children learn. The Mother Jones article above names a few.
But even if it didn’t matter to a student’s learning, even if they can blurt out scripted phonics sounds and figure extreme calculus problems on empty stomachs, it is still morally important to address child hunger! That one has to say this in response to Mulvaney’s comments yesterday is outrageous.
Whether we live in big cities or small town America, my guess is that many of us step over or walk around the homeless in our communities on a daily basis. You cannot help but be concerned if you have a conscious when they wave their “will work for food” sign in our faces.
We may not call it a Great Depression, but in 2015 it was reported that 42.2 million Americans were not sure where they would get their next meal. This included 29.1 million adults and 13.1 million children. One in 6 people experience hunger in America. Probably, you’re like me and think a country as wealthy as ours should have 0 food hungry people.
Grandparents are in trouble now too. Trump’s sweeping cuts to Meals on Wheels means many elderly Americans will have to find another food source. Five-hundred thousand veterans—men and women who served their country honorably could now face hunger. Most children love their grandparents and also fear for their safety and welfare.
Can you imagine what it is like to be a child or an adult and not know whether you will have any food in your refrigerator when you come home from school or work? Or you are an adult who can’t find work? How does a proud, jobless parent feel, when they are unable to provide the barest necessities for their children—especially food?
I am proud to support the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program which serves 22 million children who need and receive free or reduced-price meals in our public schools. We know that for many of these children, what they eat at school may be the only meals they eat.
I am also proud of non-profit programs like Feeding America which sends children home with backpacks of food because children need to eat even when school isn’t in session.
But a lot of children fall through the cracks with such programs. We have no coordination or proof that nonprofits are going to assist all children. We need the government to assist us with those who are less fortunate. That’s what people who care about each other and their country do.
I guess it is easy to forget about these things when playing golf on expensive golf courses. Or when plotting how to break up the public school system which serves 90% of all America’s children, including the poor.
Is it just a matter-of-time before the school lunch and breakfast programs will be cut too? How will choice figure in those programs? After all, no child chooses to be hungry.
Karen Bracken says
I too feel bad for any child that goes to bed hungry. BUT back in the depression there were no food stamps. And we are also feeding the children of parents that can afford to feed their own children. ALL children are now fed in the school system and that is pushing he hand of the government way too deeply into the role of parent. And I also know many poor that have EBT cards either sell their cards for drug and drink money or they just don’t feed their kids before they go to school. In America any child that goes to school hungry is more a sign of bad parenting. I believe that by feeding their children we are perpetuating a lack of parental accountability. If a child comes to school hungry then we should deal with the parent. By feeding all children in school and providing medical services we are indoctrinating our children to believe and accept the government taking care of us and I believe that is the real reason they created these Socialist programs. I believe charity begins at home. Tax us less and allow the communities and churches to take care of the needy. It will cost less and more kids in need will be cared for.
Nancy Bailey says
All children are fed school lunches? Here is the National School Lunch Program and that doesn’t seem to be the case. https://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/NSLPFactSheet.pdf
Perhaps what you are referring to is that there are so many children falling in the poor bracket that some places are considering free lunch for everyone. I believe in Detroit that has been considered, or is being implemented. And some consideration has gone into the embarrassment children might feel when it comes to accepting a free lunch. So some schools, again with a lot of poor children, are considering free lunch for all children.
You make your points, Karen, but I personally disagree. When it comes to tax dollars I am more concerned about tax cuts for the incredibly wealthy.
And while I didn’t mention health care, I believe ALL children should be covered. I am still saddened by the Deamonte Driver incident. Did you read about this? Nothing like this should happen in such a country. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Dental/story?id=2925584
Lisa M says
Let me just add that the food wasted in school cafeterias is atrocious. Yes, they feed the kids breakfast but then 1 1/2 – 2 hours later, they are feeding them lunch. The kids aren’t hungry and they throw the food away. You can’t make children eat for the sake of eating. The idea is great but the execution is poor. It really would be better to fund food pantries or to send home breakfast type food in a backpack that can be eaten before children get to school. Yes, it is deplorable that there are hungry children in the wealthiest nation in the world, but the waste in the school lunch program is just as deplorable. And I know this because I used to volunteer when my children were in elementary school and I would stay through their lunch shift.
Jim Katakowski says
Karen Bracken you are voicing the stereo typical GOP rant which is not near a reality of fact. This is racist talk. Nancy Bailey was being gentle and kind and I can not do that anymore. These are children who were born to the conditions which keep them down, I guess it is all their fault that they don’t pull themselves up by their own freakin bootstraps. These kids do not want charity they want help to get out of the mess that was given them. It takes a village to raise a child unless you do not want to be part of that village which is a choice you make. That Nashville incident was a disgrace for all of America. Money gets in the way or greed.
Jim Mordecai says
There is already choice with regard to the school lunch program in California and I would guess other states. All public schools in California by its State education code must take part in the National School Breakfast program except charter schools have a choice of whether to participate. Oakland, California has had a few charter schools that chose not to participate in the National School Breakfast program.
Nancy Bailey says
So you are saying, Jim, that some charters choose not to accept free school lunches for poor kids?
Sheila Resseger says
Even Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.” Now Mick Mulvaney says, “Let them eat air pudding.” (That was a paraphrase. I saw that phrase a while back in a documentary when a child asked his mother what there was to eat. She said, “air pudding.” “What’s that,” he asked. “Open your mouth and then close it. You just had it.” And from the Trump extravaganza dept., we get, “As Quartz reported on Friday, after this weekend, Trump will have already spent about $16.5 million on trips to Mar-a-Lago. For that amount, Meals on Wheels could feed 5,967 seniors for a year and after school programs could feed 114,583 children for a year.” https://thinkprogress.org/trump-mar-a-lago-trump-branded-properties-weekends-41d373bbe97a#.elx0ew1fl