There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

Friday, October 9, 2009
Posted in category Uncategorized
More children are getting into school lunch lines without being able to pay, creating a financial burden for school districts.

Some schools are toughening their policies — limiting students to two or three unpaid meals, creating payment plans and using collection agencies.

It’s a growing problem that reflects families’ economic struggles nationally, says Dora Rivas, president of the School Nutrition Association.

“When we’re talking to parents, we’re hearing that they lost their jobs, their cars have broken down,” says Sheila Mason of Des Moines Public Schools.

About 4,500 students in Des Moines owed $133,000 for unpaid meals at the start of the year, most of it from previous years. That’s more than twice the amount a year earlier.

Middle class kids, and surely, there’s no food in the home, right? They starve, and the whole family goes hungry? Why don’t the schools send collection agency reps to the homes to witness the “poverty” of the parents who can’t take the time to make sure their kids get food to eat? Certainly you won’t find anything in those homes like cable/satellite TV with a monthly bill to pay, expensive video games and players, newer cars, laptops, iPods, cell phones, and flat-screen TVs. These are lazy, unfit parents whose children are not a priority. They will not take the time to prepare food if it’s not prepared for them from Mickey D’s or Kentucky Fried, or some other rotgut hole-in-the-wall.

Some schools were giving the kids cheese sandwiches, to get them by, when they could would not pay for lunch. But apparently, that created a stigma for these children, adversely affecting their self-esteem, so now the policy is to give them a full meal like everyone else. The message is, if you won’t feed your children, you know we’ll do it for you. So why would the parents not be on to that?

The school district is looking into filing claims in small-claims court instead of just shutting off the spigot of free lunches. What a bunch of pathetic moochers. The entitlement mindset is becoming the new American tradition.

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7 Responses to There is Such a Thing as a Free Lunch

  1. clark says:

    October 9th, 2009 at 7:02 am

    So very spot on. Also, it depends on what your definition of “poverty” is. How can anyone be so cold hearted as to expect a poor person to be without a cellphone? I see it every day, scroungy and dirty yacking away on a cellphone. Isn’t cable TV a right and a necessity these days? I knew a boy when I was young, who, rather than go hungry would do things like ware socks as gloves. I haven’t seen that kind of sacrifice since, it just wouldn’t do. Never once have I seen a person who wasn’t fat paying with welfare dollars. It’s the new equality.

  2. Jay says:

    October 9th, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    I had free lunches when I went to elementary and junior high school in the 70s and early 80s because we truly had very little money (and we definitely didn’t have any luxuries). In my schools, anyone who received free lunch was mercilessly and relentlessly taunted by the middle class and upper class students. Free lunch was in itself a stigma — every day I wished I had money to pay for my own lunch like the other “cool” kids. We even had to wait in a special free lunch line apart from the paying students, which only added to the misery and embarrassment. Every year, my mother had to show the school pay stubs to prove that we were poor. If we couldn’t prove it, we had to pay. You could not get lunch without your lunch pass. Period. If you didn’t have your lunch pass, or you left it at home or lost it, you scrounged off a friend. I don’t believe any of the administrators or lunch ladies would have taken pity on us and fed us. It was just the way life was. We didn’t expect to get anything for free, and the public schools certainly didn’t feel obligated to do anything other than educate us in how unfair life really was. How times have changed…

    Anyway, unable to bear the stigma of being a poor kid, I got my first job at 12-years-old and the extra few dollars I had meant my mother ended up saving a few dollars, too , and she could afford to buy cheap-ass sandwich stuff and pack me a bag lunch. It was OK if you brought a bag lunch, but don’t ever stand in the free lunch line.

  3. Christine says:

    October 9th, 2009 at 5:10 pm

    It’s not so much the actual poor people causing this problem. Poor kids get free/reduced lunch (no separate lines!) by filling out some paperwork. The problem comes from those who do not fill out the paperwork yet continue to take school lunch and do not pay for it. I’m fine with helping out those who ask for help, but the other folks are just stealing from me, as far as I’m concerned.

  4. cousin lucky says:

    October 9th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    I am 65 years old and no one got free food at school, Ever!! You see, as strange as it might sound, back then people did not have children that they could not afford. Back then children were taught to earn money by doing odd jobs around the neighborhood like shoveling snow or raking leaves. In my youth everyone was taught to ” carry their own weight “. Nowadays kids get on the bus and walk pass the farebox as a ” matter of their entitlement ” .

    The Dingbats and their Illusions have created a dysfunctional society that has absolutely NO CHANCE at survival!!

  5. Jeannie Queenie says:

    October 10th, 2009 at 12:41 am

    School lunch programs are basically a joke. I was a food service director for 3 schools in the upper peninsula of MI in the seventies. Being in charge of three schools and having to do the budgeting, procuring of foods/produce/meats, etc along with making menus and directing kitchen help in those schools taught me many things about both our govt, as well as how finiky kids can be. The pay wasn’t anything to write home about, and actually the best part was having teachers and staff tell me they had never had such good lunches in the history of the schools…that made me proud. But the part that really got to me was despite the better than ever lunches I offered, it was amazing how much food got thrown away each day. Not sure if it was because kids had such crap food at home, that they didn’t know what good/nutritious/tasty was like, or if they were just your garden variety ‘cater to me’ type of brats who would not eat anything that their little hearts may not have desired that day. All I recall was the sick feeling I got each day at seeing so much really decent food being tossed for lack of some kids interest or inability to know what is good. I might mention too that we rec’d beaucoup food goodies from uncle sam…from large cans of tomatos/corn/beans/pasta and soups to nuts…that was the challenging part of that job to come up with recipes utilizing those freebies and making it all very yummy!

  6. Shannon says:

    October 10th, 2009 at 7:01 am

    When I went to school. I also got free lunches for a time. Of course, then, I did not having the libertarian understanding that I do now regarding such things. There is never such thing as a “free” anything. Today, the lunches served up are anything but healthy. Deep-fried, high-carb slop that promotes poor health. When my parents were in school, it was healthy food-vegetables, etc. and no lunches were free. I agree in that the majority of parents do not take the time to care enough and prepare decent food for their kids. Even infants and toddlers are being fed soda and french fries.

  7. Karen De Coster says:

    October 10th, 2009 at 11:15 am

    Christine — so theft and redistribution to “people who ask for help” is okay, as long as one fills out the required bureaucratic paperwork? You are what’s wrong with the zombie mindset in this country. A little hint: anything that is given away for “free” under the guise of just “asking for it” will have EVERYONE asking for it because it’s free to them. Duh x 100, eh?

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