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Letter to the editor: FWCS to give charity to those who don't really need it

Tuesday, July 22, 2014 - 12:01 am

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Where the Red Fern Grows,” “Bridge to Terabithia,” “The Grapes of Wrath,” even “Harry Potter” — all have characters in poverty who either refuse or are ashamed to take charity. What will schools do with those books now?

I am deeply disturbed by the unanimous vote of the Fort Wayne Community Schools board to give free breakfast and lunch to all students in elementary through middle school through the Community Eligibility Provision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

I think meals at home are important for families to communicate, bond and learn life skills, as well as show the kids that parents take care of them. I did not like it before when kids who ate breakfast at home had to wait on the bus 15 minutes, while the school breakfasting children ate inside, but this is worse. I get up at 5:30 a.m. to make hash browns and eggs, 30 minutes later for cold cereal. If I didn’t have to make breakfast, would I get up just in time to say goodbye? Or at all?

It is ludicrous. Middle-income and wealthy kids do not need tax-funded free breakfast and lunch.

FWCS Superintendent Wendy Robinson said, “This was strictly based on it is the right thing to do.” She says some families are too busy to eat well and that school meals are the only nutritious meals some children get.

I say, “So teach the kids how to make nutritious meals.” A small child can pour a bowl of whole grain cereal and peel a banana. A 5-year-old can make toast, grate cheese and cut up an orange. An 8-year-old can cook oatmeal or blender fruit smoothie. A 10-year-old should be able to fry eggs and potatoes. These are skills to be proud of and build upon, and those are inexpensive healthy foods.

I look at the nice cars in the school parking lot and the many overweight children, and I do not think our local population is so absolutely helpless that our government needs to provide free cooked food.

For half my life I was very poor, and I learned resourcefulness, and there is not a day that I do not appreciate what I have now. The philosophy behind this CEP program will lead to equalizing everyone and weakening the individual.

Finally, I am disturbed by the unanimous approval. I watched FWCS’ next board meeting, and the chair does not even pause after asking for the Nays: “All in favor? (pause) Nays? Motion carries.”

Jeannette Jaquish