No Free Lunch, Seriously?

The attention of the Nation has recently been focused on children starving in our schools because somewhere school lunchroom employees have been instructed to trash trays of food for students whose meal accounts are…empty. It seems that this may have begun in New Jersey. According to someone from the Willingboro school district said they would no longer have humanitarian funding available to cover empty meal accounts for students whose parents let their accounts run dry.


Seriously? What do you mean no humanitarian funding? Okay, Mr. Ronald Taylor, School Superintendent who wrote and circulated the directive, let me make sure I get this right: what you are saying is that you are not able to continue to allow hungry children to eat if their parents, for whatever reason, cannot maintain an appropriate level of money in their school meal account, and as a result it is alright with you if these children starve.

Seriously? Are you kidding me? And Mr. Taylor are  you offering any kind of solution to this problem you have created?

The problem as I see it lies with the educators and school administrators stooping to the level of forcing a hungry child to starve. These people should not be allowed charge over a child because they are not looking to fix the problem of a hungry child, just make it worse.

Did it ever occur to these educators, who have made it policy to trash perfectly good food that these children cannot learn on an empty stomach? You have a responsibility to take care of these children who sit at a desk in your school every day and you are doing that by throwing out their lunch? You have a moral obligation to teach all of the students in your school that they are to be kind, address the needs of others by finding solutions to their problems. Is tossing out the lunch of a hungry child really accomplishing anything? I think not. You are only teaching a child how to be mean.

Further, you are responsible for the health and wellbeing of every child on your campus. Preventing hungry children from eating a healthy lunch then giving them detention because they fall asleep in class as a result of their blood sugar plummeting on account of what? That’s right! You threw away their lunch! This is not being responsible. Would you hire a baby sitter or nanny who did not feed your child? I think not.

Did any one of you ever stop to think that maybe these children’s parents only have enough money to provide one meal each day for their family?

What is wrong with this picture? Wake up! Poverty is very real in America. This may be the land of opportunity but not everyone is able to afford 3 squares a day. Are we so busy feeding the rest of the world that we do not care about feeding our own?

In actuality the solution to an empty meal account is right in front of us; its an easy fix.

Most schools, both public and private, have a PTA or PTSA organizations which helps fill in the gaps at their local schools. Through fundraisers they have been known to purchasing new sports equipment, books for the media center, landscaping and all sorts of things that enhance the overall learning experience for the students. They also work to provide unity within their individual school through special programs and through forms of community outreach they assist as the needs arise.

The local PTA/PTSAs could address the needs of the child with the empty meal account in America’s schools by initiating a cooperative whereby a school adopts a sister school for whom they are providing humanitarian funding for the empty meal accounts. It makes sense and should not be hard to implement. What I am telling you is that this entity is already geared up to assist and its workforce is primarily  volunteer. You don't have to reinvent the wheel, just make it roll.

This action accomplishes three very important things:

  •       hungry children are fed,

  •       children are taught how to reach out to help those in need, and

  •       the initiative is not government funded. 

Well, what are you waiting for?

Lane Taylor