The Slowcook at Spydog Farm The Slowcook at Spydog Farm

Washington Post Readers Hate Feeding Poor Kids

October 19th, 2010 · 2 Comments · Posted in Blog, school food

Tip: Don't grow up poor in America

How much do Americans hate feeding poor children at school?

Along with a story about D.C. schools beginning a program to feed some 10,000 needy children dinner at school, The Washington Post today asked readers to respond to a poll on the question and nearly half–47 percent–said this is a BAD IDEA.

Why would schools spend money–some $5.7 million in this case–to feed hungry children who should be eating at home? these readers wanted to know.

If you were wondering whether racial stereotyping still had a pulse in the nation’s capital, just peruse some of the comments to this story.

“Neither Michelle Rhee, nor different teachers are the answer to what ails DC public schools…what ails DC public schools are DC public school parents…and their malnourished, under-parented spawn…,” fumed one reader.

“They might as well feed them dinner. And while they are at it, clothe them also,” ranted a second. “The year will be 2050 and blacks will still be complaining about being held down and not being able to handle life’s requirements without ongoing, permanent government welfare. It’s the black circle of life.”

“I think a better balanced article should have included how many of the kids have cell phones and those $100+ sneakers,” snarled a third. “Having grown up on peanut butter sandwiches, I make choices as to what to spend my money on. If a person cannot afford to feed their child then maybe that person should not have become a parent.”

Sentiments like these explain perfectly why the U.S. Senate, in approving a re-authorization of the Child Nutrition Act that fund school meals, could only find six additional cents to help support the perpetually underfunded school lunch. School food advocates–myself included–who would love nothing better than to see re-heated chicken nuggets and tater tots replaced with fresh food cooked from scratch, need to wise up to the fact that most Americans just don’t care. They grow up in a junk food culture, and do not buy into the idea that children–least of all poor black children–should be eating better than everyone else.

In short, there is no political mandate for spending more money on school food. Maybe it’s time for advocates of better school meals to take stock and adjust their message accordingly.

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  • Deborah Burgess

    “The year will be 2050 and blacks will still be complaining about being held down and not being able to handle life’s requirements without ongoing, permanent government welfare. It’s the black circle of life.”

    As most generalizations are, this one is not entirely correct, but there is indeed a very vocal element of the black community willing (and expecting) the rest of America’s citizens to support them. Unfortunately, their young and hungry children need to be helped.

    I advocate that if the school system is the vehicle for feeding these children, it should do what schools are truly responsible for, and educate them by offering them a good quality of food made from fresh and nutritious ingredients, teach them how to make good food choices, and also use this opportunity to teach them about the opportunities our country presents to those who have a good work ethic. They need to understand that with a good education and elbow grease, they can break the chains of dependency, and they need to be exposed to people who have done just that. Here in America, every child has the opportunity to succeed, to have “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Too often it is indeed their culture that stands in the way of the American dream.

  • Sheila Crye

    Please remember that Washington Post polls are not scientific: Responses are self-selected rather than randomly selected from the population. We don’t know whether or not 47% of the population feels the way the pollsters do–only that 47% of the respondants feel negatively about the D.C. school dinner program.

    By the way, the At-Risk Supper Program ( operates in eight states, not all with the high proportion of low-income Black families that the District of Columbia supports.

    My problem with the At-Risk Supper Program is that it separates the children from the rest of the family. If the children are hungry, aren’t the parents hungry, too?