Sunday, June 9, 2013

The "Hunger Games" - June 2013 Edition

I went online to my local Gannett Online Publication this morning to check out 'local news'.  The screen darkened for a moment as the page loaded and then...

Oh.  My.  God.
Another unhappy news report.  Another social-justice situation requiring IMMEDIATE LOCAL AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ATTENTION.  Another indication of how the local economy has been impacted by decisions made far (and not nearly so far) away.  
If Misery truly loves company, consider yourself 'loved' for on this Sunday Morning as I am now truly 'miserable'...  And you are invited to join me.

When schools close for summer break, child hunger hits home
Thousands will be left without meals in Southern Tier

When schools close for summer recess later this month, thousands of children in the Southern Tier will lose access to free or reduced-price breakfasts and lunches.

Although the federal government funds a summer nutrition program to continue feeding children, the meal count drops by roughly 84 percent.

That’s raising concerns for local elected and public health officials, food pantries and others — including a New York senator — who deal with feeding children. And it begs the question:
Will they go hungry simply because meals are not as readily accessible as they are stepping off the school bus and into the cafeteria?

Almost 15,800 out of 32,500 students in 14 districts in Broome-Tioga BOCES are eligible for free or reduced-priced breakfasts or lunches. When classes are in session from September through June, these districts’ cafeterias serve roughly 17,500 breakfasts and lunches each school day under the federal lunch program.

The highest percentages of eligibility by districts are Binghamton, with 80 percent of its 6,400 students eligible for the federal program, followed by Johnson City and Deposit, where 60 percent of each district’s enrollment qualifies for free or reduced-priced meals, according to Mark Bordeau, senior director of food services for BOCES.


Transportation, health issues
(MoosNote: Please note that there are NO health issues in the remainder of the article regardless of this sub-heading.  I can only guess that we are left to 'assume' the issues and be incensed accordingly...)

If transportation is the prime culprit in putting so many children at risk of going hungry in the summer, why not transport them to food sites or go mobile with the food?

Logistics and the bureaucracy that accompanies a federally-administered program impose limitations on seemingly simple solutions, such as busing children to the sites, said Bordeau. Who pays? Who assumes liability? What buses are used?

Ultimately, any changes to the program — perhaps to provide public transportation to sites — would be the responsibility of the federal government, including Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
“Senator Schumer is concerned with the ability to access summer lunch programs in Broome County and will look into the details of the program to see what can be done to rectify these issues,” said spokeswoman Meredith Kelly.
(Moos Note:  Please understand that Chuck Schumer is concerned with EVERYTHING impacting potential voters but manages to get 'mostly nothing' done about 'anything'.  The man's spokespeople are 'everywhere' and 'nowhere' at the same time - but in NY State, Chuck Schumer does a lot of 'looking into things' but he apparently never 'sees' anything because the status quo is just fine with him (and apparently his constituents).)
 . . 

In the meantime, the local community has an obligation to rally around fighting child hunger and finding immediate, workable solutions, said Natasha Thompson, president and chief executive officer of the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.

“Hunger is an issue; child hunger is a particular issue,” Thompson said. “This is not just a food bank, church or nonprofit organization’s problem. We can only make a difference if everyone is working together.”

In some of the communities served by the Food Bank, solutions to the summer food distribution problem have involved bringing the food to the children.

Its Picnics in the Park program in Elmira brings free bag lunches to children and their parents on weekends at four parks in and around the city.

In Schuyler County, the Food Bank instituted a demonstration project in 2011 that brings breakfast and four lunches weekly to eligible children in refrigerated trucks at various sites.

So the questions we're left to draw from the above are: 
  1. "How will the hungry children survive all summer without being fed 'free or subsidized' breakfasts and lunches by the government?"
  2. "How will local towns be able to bring the children to their meals, if the children are unable to bring themselves to the meals?"
  3. "Since when did parents abdicate their responsibility to feed their own... children?"
Hmm, tough questions...  Wow, how to respond?

Okay, sure, I'll take a "crack at it".  (Please note that I did not say 'Crack Addict' in reference to parents who do not feed their own children.  I think that it is important that we keep the debate civil...) 

Answer #1:  "How will the hungry children survive all summer without being fed 'free or subsidized' breakfasts and lunches by the government?" 

Parents (Mother / Father / relatives of some sort) need to use 'currently provided' state and federal assistance to feed their families.  In New York State there are HUNDREDS of programs designed to feed, clothe, medicate, house and even teach unprepared individuals HOW to be a parent. 

Apparently these programs are necessary because several generations of NY State Citizens have had no exposure to ANY quality parents in their lives thanks to... 

You guessed it, "State and Federal Assistance Programs".

From the NY State "Fatherhood Services" site (and no, I'm not making this up):

  • What if the relationship between me and my child's mother does not work out?  (I've got this one down!  Meet someone, know them for an extended period of time, get USED TO THEM, and then ask them to marry you - prior to having children with them.  Please note that the New York State Fatherhood Services site includes neither the word "Wife" nor "Husband" on it.  I wonder why that is?)
  • How can I take an active role in my baby's life?  (Oh, I dunno, how about by BEING THERE to raise YOUR child?)
  • How can I play with my baby?  ('Lovingly', one would hope)
  • What do I do if my baby won't stop crying?  (Um, how about:  a.  Checking the diaper for 'discharge' of 'some sort', b.  Holding the baby, c.  Feeding the baby if the child is hungry and if you have a school bus available to take the child for food), and / or, d. Speaking to the child in a soothing tone while 'burping him / her')
  • What resources are available in the community to help me in my time of need?  (How about:  Your parents.  Your religious organization.  Your employer.  Your mentor.  Your WIFE?  Oh, sorry, didn't mean to be so dang judgemental...  Apparently 'Dads' in New York State have no parents, religion, jobs, friends, or wives - Sorry, I forgot why I LOVE NY so much.)  

. . 
Answer #2:  "How will local towns be able to bring the children to their meals, if the children are unable to bring themselves to the meals?" 

I can't answer this one.  I honestly can't wrap my head around the concept.  I grew up in a small town with two working parents.  During the summer months I would wake up when Mom and Dad went to work, watch a little TV (all five channels) and then I would...  Walk next door to visit with the neighbors, hang out with their kids, go for walks, cruise local streets looking for 5-cent cast off bottles to return to Risco's Deli for candy, make a PB&J / can of soup / or Mac & Cheese for lunch and behave myself until my parents returned in the evening. 

When I was thirteen I got a job at a local diner washing dishes, bussing tables, and doing general prep work for the next day.  I could work, eat, get paid(!), and learn a trade.

It wasn't a perfect plan (not much in life is), but it beat the pants off of a community considering how to fund a school bus service 'as if' school is in session because children aren't getting fed at home.  And, it taught me the value of 'work' at a young age (and I learned how to cook real food allowing me to feed myself later in life).
. . 
Answer #3:  "Since when did parents abdicate their responsibility to feed their own... children?"

Since LBJ launched America's "Great Society". 

I'm not going to rewrite stuff I've already written (yes, even I would like this post to end sometime today) so I'll embed a link here if you'd like to delve a bit deeper into the dark, scary places of America's 'recent social justice past' for a night when you really don't want to sleep (ever again):  The (Late) Great Society

Parents and communities worried about children not eating because school is no longer in session?  Another reason to keep kids in school 'all year long'? 

Hillary Clinton was wrong.  It does NOT 'take a village' to raise a child.  It only takes two, and sometimes a single decent person to help a child grow into an independent adult.

The premise that it takes a community to raise a child is false.  This idea is not based upon the writings of Hillary Clinton however.

Somebody owned 'her thoughts' long before she did...

“The education of all children, from the moment that they can get along without a mother's care, shall be in state institutions.”  -- Karl Marx  (The least-funny of the brothers)

Somewhere in the distance, a school bus sits, waiting for the opportunity to serve the students... year-round. 

I sit at my dining room table in my shorts and T-shirt typing this post on a Sunday morning as the rest of the family sleeps.  I say no. 

But no one is asking me. 

Post a Comment