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I grew up in a single parent household, majority of my life; meaning I got free lunches from kindergarten until my senior year of high school. Some people think that kids get free lunches because their parents don’t work and live off the states help; this is not always true! My mom worked 40+ hours and she still never made enough to pay for our lunches or even get a reduced price on them.
The chart works like this;
You count how many people you have in your household (kids and parents); you then figure out if you get paid annually, monthly, every two weeks, or once a week.
This all will tell you if you qualify for free lunches or reduced lunches. My mom had a household of three kids and one adult and she made less than $31,590 a year so she got free lunches; now when I moved out for college and she got a raise at work she had to go to reduced lunches because she was making more than $26,208 a year but less than ,296.
Now I don’t want to base my paper just around single-parent households, because those homes aren’t the only ones that struggle! There are 1 in every 4 children in the U.
S. that grow up in a single parent household and there are 1 in every 2 kids that grow up in a low-income home. Now, these percentages have been on a rise for years now. There is such a high number on single parents or just low-income homes in the U.S. alone because of one major reason: minimum wage is so low; over the last fifty to sixty years the minimum wage has gone up but so has rent, insurance on cars, homes and even yourself, gas prices, and even the price of your groceries! Majority of families live paycheck to paycheck! Now there are a lot more single parents that struggle with money because they decide to have kids a lot younger than usual. Why you may ask; there are so many factors involved in that; one major one being accidental teen pregnancy! Being a teen parent means that you may finish high school a lot later in life; for example, my stepmom had my stepsister at 16 and she didn’t finish school until she was 24.
Although it is a struggle going through life as a young parent or a single parent there are several state/federal programs that will help you support your family. Although we spend a lot of money on children nutrition programs as it is, since 1990 spending for these programs has more than doubled; in 2014 it was estimated to be around $20 billion. We may spend this much because children nutritional programs support schools and, if needed, daycares. About 92 percent of the money we spend on education programs comes from non-federal sources. This means that the Federal Government only gives education programs about 8 percent. The main thing that the government does for nutritional programs is set food safety guidelines, inspects to see if the businesses they give to are following those guidelines, makes sure that these standards are met, and maintain a strong enforcement program to deal with those who don’t follow the standards.
There are 73.8 million kids in the U.S. as of this year and, of this, only 49.5 million are at the elementary, middle, or high school age. With a school lunch costing the government $3.31 and having to feed 49.5 million kids in U.S. all together, the government is paying $1,638,450,000; with kids that get reduced school lunches paying $0.31 the government gets back $5,285,322,580.64 which means they are only paying $3,646,872,580.64. There are many ways that the government can save money while providing every kid a free lunch; like fundraisers or donations.
Although we already spend so much on children nutrition programs, I still believe that we should provide every student a free lunch; no matter their families’ income. I also believe that children should not be sent back to class hungry; sometimes the only meal they get throughout the day is the one the school provides them. Don’t make one kid feel like an outcast just because they get a free lunch and their classmates don’t. Some kids actually get bullied because of this.
Several schools around the country are experimenting with new ways to handle lunch payments; free meals for all kids. As of the 2013 school year, Boston public schools began serving free lunches to all student even if their families had financial ways to pay full price. This experiment is to help make it easier for a student from low-income families to receive free meals by getting rid of the need to fill out all the paperwork and make the parents feel like they lost their pride and feel embarrassed. This experiment was available to any schools that had a high percentage of students from low-income households and the cost was covered by the federal government. “Every child has a right to healthy, nutritious meals in school, and when we saw a chance to offer these healthy meals at no cost to them, we jumped at the chance,” (Mayor Thomas M. Menino said in a prepared statement), “This allows all children, regardless of income, to know healthy meals are waiting for them at school every day” (Mayor Thomas M. Menino). There’s no such thing as free in this world we live in, but there should be an exception for children!
There are several reasons why we should give free lunches. One reason is that no kids should have to go hungry. Yes, most of the time we never let kids go home or back to class hungry because some schools will give you a free lunch maybe the first couple times your mom doesn’t pay your balance or when you forget your lunch money but after that some schools get impatient. There are times when parents aren’t made aware of the option of free lunches or reduced prices, the paperwork doesn’t get filled out because of language difficulties or because the pride of the parents stops them from even picking up the paperwork. Another reason is that it makes the kids that get free lunches feel like an outcast. Nowadays, kids who bring a lunch to school are considered well-to-do and kids who wait in line for a lunch from the school are called “poor” by their classmates; which is what is considered bullying.
It’s very clear that our children cannot go hungry, and the thought that some kids are being sent back to class on empty stomachs doesn’t help them concentrate in the classroom like they should. I was taught at a young age that breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it helps you concentrate throughout the rest of your day; so the thought that some kids are going back to the last few classes of the day on empty stomachs makes me think, “are they able to concentrate on what they are learning or are they concentrating on their empty little tummies”? Some schools have fired teachers because they tried to pay for a student’s meal because it’s seen as “picking a favorite” by the other students, they say. There was a woman working in the lunchroom of a Colorado elementary school who got fired for giving children, who had forgotten their lunch money, free meals. Della Curry told ABC News ‘Clayton Sandell’, “I was let go for not charging for all of the food I gave to the students. I would have kids start crying when I told them they didn’t have money in their accounts because they were terrified of getting the cheese sandwich (this is what they give students as a “free” lunch)’(Della Curry, the lunch lady that gave free meals out and got fired for it). Even though she was just being a human being and making sure an innocent child didn’t go hungry, she lost her job; which is insane in my opinion!
If the school denies a kid lunch or gives them something gross in return of not being able to pay for the other lunch; then send them back to class, the child may not even get a good healthy meal all day; including at home! There is a high percentage of kids in the world today that come to school hoping that they will get a warm/healthy/delicious meal for once, but then when they don’t, they start to get disappointed with the world they live in and that will affect their future life’s; for example they could drop out of high school and end up not finishing one day!
Let’s think about this scenario, we willingly feed prisoners three meals a day; we even house them for free for however long they have to be in there, but we won’t allow innocent children free lunches? We spend around $31,286 per inmate in each prison around the world, and it cost about $10,615 to send a child to public school. I’m not saying we should treat prisoners like trash, that’s a whole different subject, but I’m just suggesting if we are using our tax money for people that have committed crimes and felonies with free meals and a free roof over their heads for however long they are in there for; why not provide kids with one free meal a day for 13 years?
In conclusion, we should offer free lunches to all students because it’s unfair for families with higher incomes to pay for their child’s meals but not the ones with low-income; why should higher income families have to pay for a lot more things then lower income families do? Why does the world work like that? It’s also a way to stop bullying, so many kids get bullied in school for their families’ financial problems, not having to pay for school lunches being one of them. I hope one day we do consider this because my career choice is elementary education and I would really hate to be fired for paying for an innocent child’s lunch, I don’t want a kid to go hungry because the school wouldn’t give them a lunch or the school decided to give them a poor choice lunch in return of the good one.
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