Summertime, Welfare Time

Government schools in San Juan County “are increasing the number of sites offering free meals to feed local students this summer.” The “Summer Food Service Program” relies “on innovation and collaboration to reach children who need good nutrition when school is out of session.” A “federally-funded [sic], state-administered program,” eligibility isn’t exactly strict. “Open” sites subsidize meals for all children in “low-income areas.” (As the program director for Clovis’s Sacred Heart Summer Food Service noted two years ago, “A lot of the parents might think that it’s for the poor only, but it’s not — it’s for every child.”)

The Farmington MSA has one of the worst unemployment rates in the country. Many people there need help. But that’s no reason to perpetuate a program that has a dubious justification. Child hunger in the United States is essentially nonexistent. Citing date from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Heritage Foundation’s Robert Rector wrote that “96 percent of poor parents” reported that “their children were never hungry at any time during the year because they could not afford food.”

Meanwhile, New Mexico’s food-stamp spending for residents of all ages remains colossal. While the numbers were down somewhat from the previous year, in March, 502,701 people — a bit less than a quarter of the population — were beneficiaries of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Source: Monthly Statistical Reports, New Mexico Human Services Department

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