Food in schools? A possible solution

Guest Post

I was listening to Red Radio on my way home from work and heard John Campbell referring to an interview which aired earlier in the day about the charity Kidscan and children being fed at school. Mr C read out the feedback of one listener who said that it shouldn’t be left to charities to feed children. All good so far. The listener went on to say that instead of charities feeding hungry children, society, specifically the government, should be feeding hungry children.

Wait a minute…doesn’t the government already pay parents to feed their hungry children via the payment of sole parent benefits and a range of other benefits and tax credits?   

Isn’t the real problem that some dropkick parents, despite receiving money from the government to do so in the form of various benefits, fail to feed their children and instead use that money for things other than their hungry children? Things like booze, fags, tattoos, satellite television, takeaways and a myriad of things other than their children.

We all agree that children need to be well fed in order to learn at school. I am philosophically opposed to charities feeding children because charity creates dependence. This is a fact backed by plenty of international research, and is the reason why David Shearer changed his position from initially supporting the idea of charities feeding children to being opposed to charities feeding children. Besides, as the Court is want to tell financially negligent parents, it is the parents responsibility to provide for their children. It is not the State’s responsibility.

So the question becomes how do we ensure children are being fed and their parents are paying instead of abrogating their responsibility to charities or other kind hearted souls who can’t bear to see children suffering?

In many countries hot meals are provided at school. Parents pay for the meals which are often prepared on site and served in a school cafeteria or dining room. While I don’t think for a second that we need hot meals and dining rooms in our schools, we do need parents to pay for the food that is provided.

What I propose is that simple, inexpensive school lunches, which parents pay for, be available to every school child. Children who come to school without lunch will be given a meal and the children’s parents charged either by direct debit or, in the case of parents receiving benefits, by benefit deduction. How many parents would love to give up the morning routine of making lunches if there was a healthy and inexpensive alternative? But more importantly, deprived children are fed, not at the expense of charities, kind hearted souls or the State, but at the expense of their negligent parents.

 

-Name withheld by request

 


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