The Free Lunch Culprit

I read a news story today that reported on another study about the “obesity epidemic” among children.  The culprit, according to the story, is the unhealthy school lunch paid for by the government (in other words, paid for by taxpayers) to feed children whose parents can’t afford to feed them.

Let me get this straight: these children are so poor and hungry that they are……..obese?

Is anyone else out there puzzling over this discrepancy?

There is no doubt that the Lord calls us to feed those who are hungry, but I think His definition of “hungry” might differ from our government’s definition of hungry.  I’m thinking of the children in Africa who are literally skin and bones, whose bellies poke out not from too many twinkies and cokes but from malnutrition.  These children might get one bowl of rice a day, period.  No strawberries or apples or bananas.  No carrots or green beans or salad.  Just rice.  Those are the kids who truly need $2.92 a meal, which is what a typical school meal costs.

Our government nannies at the Department of Agriculture dictate that our US kids need more fruit and vegetables and whole grains, and they require schools districts who get federal lunch money (taxpayer lunch money) to provide meals that adhere to the food pyramid guidelines.  I’m okay with that — I’d much rather my tax dollars pay for homemade bread than pop tarts — but there’s a catch (of course).  The government (again, that means we the taxpayers) only pays out $2.68 per lunch.  According to the School Nutrition Association, each “free” lunch costs about $2.92 each.  Who makes up the difference?  We do.  To cover the cost differential, schools increase the cost of lunch for everyone else.

What does this twenty-four cent difference mean for the average taxpayer who does not qualify for the free lunch program?

In 2007, 5.1 Billion free lunches were served.  At a twenty-four cent shortfall per lunch, that means there were $1.2 million between what those lunches cost and what taxpayers paid.  Those of you whose children eat school lunches paid extra, on top of what you already pay in income tax, to cover the difference.

During the general election I wrote a blog about Michelle Obama’s comments regarding making sure that everyone “gets a piece of the pie.”

Hmmm.  What kind of pie was she referring to?  The School Lunch pie?  The Medicaid pie?  How about that Social Security pie?

What kind of pie do you deserve?

Me?

I’d rather serve it than eat it.

12When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.13“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
John 13

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