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.