Feeding Kids Without Government

Happy International School Meals Day!

Yes, that’s a thing.

“Managed” by “Children in Scotland,” ISMD “is a unique campaign with the aim of raising awareness of good nutrition for all children regardless of their circumstances.” Federal “agriculture” bureaucrat Yibo Wood writes that the day raises “awareness of nutritious school meals and their importance to the health of our kids,” gushing that “nearly every country provides some form of school meal for about 368 million children each school day worldwide, including more than 30 million children here in the U.S. through USDA’s National School Lunch Program.” ISMD, she claims, “brings the world a little closer, helping kids understand the importance of healthy nutrition to a healthy future.”

Here in New Mexico, one school district recently decided to take a pass on federally funded meals for the young ‘uns. Los Alamos Public Schools is planning to “cut ties with the National School Lunch Program by next school year.” Local donors — imagine that — will provide grub. The shift, according to the district’s food-services manager, “just gives us the opportunity to give some larger portions and be a little bit more creative with our menu.”

While the federal school-lunch program is sacred to the left, the subsidy is long overdue for some serious scrutiny. As The Heartland Institute’s Teresa Mull explained last month in The Hill, “Feeding a child is the fundamental duty of a parent.” (If moms and/or dads are unable to provide a decent breakfast and pack a nutritious lunch for their kids, what else aren’t they providing? Isn’t it time to get family services involved?)

The Heritage Foundation’s Darren Bakst and Rachel Sheffield add that the program’s “community eligibility provision” incentivizes “schools to give students free meals regardless of whether or not they come from low-income homes.” It’s an outrageous policy — one that wastes scare funds and “imposes a wealth transfer, taking hard-earned money from lower-income taxpayers and using it to subsidize higher-income families who have no need for such welfare.”

According to the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics, in New Mexico, a colossal 67.6 percent of government-school students are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. (Only Mississippi, at 70.6 percent, is higher.) Let’s hope that more districts follow Los Alamos’s lead, and question the “wisdom” of “partnering” with the feds for school meals.

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