Child Hunger in America?

How can it be?

Currently in America school-age children receive two free or reduced price meals a day based on the family income while preschooler’s parents receive (WIC Women, Infants & Children) monies to purchase healthy foods such as dairy and fruit items necessary for proper nutrition.

Additionally, most schools have Backpack programs that send home donated nonperishable foods and snacks in backpacks which are also donated so that children have food to eat at home over the weekends.

But assistance doesn’t stop there!

SummerBreak Spot, is a program funded by the government that operates sites which provide balanced breakfasts, lunches, snacks or dinners free to children 18 and under while school is on break for the summer. Meals are served at places like parks, libraries and churches and can be eaten there or can be picked up to eat at home depending on the location.

Churches and civic organizations also have weekly Food Pantries that supply foods donated by grocery chains such day old and overstocked items while individuals purchase and donate additional items.

A large percentage of the families participating in these giveaways have cell phones, not only for themselves, but for each child as well, drive late model cars, smoke, at a cost of as much as $90 per carton in some states, as well as purchase alcohol and recreational drugs on a regular basis. Their children wear the latest in name-brand clothes and sneakers too.

That is not to deny that there aren’t some families that have a legitimate need for help due to illness or unemployment.

However, they are usually the families that are not part of this entitled mainstream and are embarrassed to participate in these programs.

As an educator for 40 years I have witnessed first-hand both the waste by children participating in the free and reduced lunch plans as well as by the government that provides them.

Children have not been taught healthy eating habits and discard the vegetables and fruits provided in school meals and eat only the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza, and macaroni and cheese.

If you don’t believe me just visit or volunteer in a school cafeteria.

Government regulations require that even unopened or unused items supplied to the students must be thrown away!

Worse yet, during the pandemic while schools were closed the government forced dairy farmers who no longer were supplying milk to the schools, restaurants and theme parks, to dump hundreds of thousands of gallons of it!

The most glaring example that there is not a serious Child Hunger epidemic in America is the fact that there is a child obesity problem that IS epidemic in proportion in our country.

According to Global Pediatric Health “Childhood and adolescent obesity have reached epidemic levels in the United States, affecting the lives of millions of people. In the past 3 decades, the prevalence of childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. The latest data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show that the prevalence of obesity among US children and adolescents was 18.5% in 2015–2016. Overall, the prevalence of obesity among adolescents (12–19 years; 20.6%) and school-aged children (6–11 years; 18.4%) was higher than among preschool-aged children (2–5 years; 13.9%). School-aged boys (20.4%) had a higher prevalence of obesity than preschool-aged boys (14.3%). Adolescent girls (20.9%) had a higher prevalence of obesity than preschool-aged girls (13.5%; Moreover, the rates of obesity have been steadily rising from 1999–2000 through 2015–2016 According to Ahmad et al, 80% of adolescents aged 10 to 14 years, 25% of children younger than the age of 5 years, and 50% of children aged 6 to 9 years with obesity are at risk of remaining adults with obesity.”

At present the answer seems to escape us as we have been unable to get families to encourage exercise and provide healthy foods and snacks at home.

Part of the problem appears to be that it is cheaper to buy candy, ice cream, and other tasty yet unhealthy foods than it is to buy fresh fruit and vegetables.

Another part of the problem is our reliance on prepared foods and fast foods which contain an over abundance of calories as well as dangerous levels of salt and sugar.

Perhaps schools should teach more classes on nutrition and exercise and spend less on Critical Race Theory and rewriting history!

Let’s develop a curriculum to teach children and adults to love themselves and others and live healthy lives!

Child Hunger in our country, is it real, created, or imagined? Do some research before you decide.

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Conservative Christian; Educator 40 years, MA + 70 Post MA credits

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Jacque Lynne Ross

Jacque Lynne Ross

Conservative Christian; Educator 40 years, MA + 70 Post MA credits

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