Hi, my name is Angela. My parents were in "extreme poverty" when I was in school with my 3+ siblings. We qualified for all the programs, especially the reduced breakfast/lunches! My parents were horrified with the meals that were served and chose to get creative at home. I packed a lunch every day from 1st grade to high school! I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in high school and have spent the last two decades studying and experimenting with what foods make me feel good and which ones send me to bed. I want great things for the children of America! My hope is that we will strive to be HEALTHIER and that we will take extreme measures to get there.
This appeared in my Facebook feed today and it made me so queasy I just had to blog about it. So McDonald's is offering a "FREE" breakfast to kids in San Antonio who are taking a standardized test. And moms are eating it up! I think some families have pitched tents already in order to be first in line for this freebie (joke).
So let's talk about how expensive this free breakfast is. And while we're here, we can touch on the food served through the federal government free breakfast/lunch program. There is little difference between the food served at McDonald's and the food served at your child's school.
The costs of victimization:
In low-income neighborhoods and cities (and Indian Reservations) we see a pattern of The People saying, "I'm poor." And then a government entity steps in and says, "You are poor AND miserable AND you need our help, or else!" And The People respond with, "Ok, we'll take your help!"
And the help shows up! Just fill out these forms and you can eat, sleep and live joyously for NOTHING!
And The People eat that up! They get the help they need and then POOF! they become productive members of society, make more money, stop making poor choices and SHA-ZAM! they no longer need the government assistance!
That's not how it happens, is it? No. The programs reinforce an idea, an identity. The People keep thinking, with every bite, every free program, "I am poor. I am a victim. I can't do this on my own. I'm miserable. I am really needy. I need more and more and more help from the government. Life isn't fair. I'll never get ahead. I'll never succeed."
Right? You've seen it. Experienced it perhaps. It takes tremendous willpower to break free from the Victim Identity.
The costs of poor health:
In terms of your salary, being obese is the same as not having an undergraduate degree, says one crazy study.
So we send our kids to "college-prep" schools, but then load them up with sugar and processed carbs and hope for the best.
"Well at least they're eating SOMETHING," I hear over and over again. Really? Do you treat your guests and your own children like that? Here, eat some cardboard. IT'S SOMETHING. If you have ANY sense of responsibility for the children who are truly starving, please feel they deserve our BEST food, not our worst.
Obesity and diabetes is on the rise, and this just further contributes to poor education, poor salary, poor quality of life. Oh, and death!
In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. ONE THIRD!
San Antonio is one of the most overweight cities in America.
76% of San Antonio students eat the Government-Served lunch, and 76% of those students get it for free (rough estimate based on years 2012-2014).
476,955 Bexar County Child Population 2013
317538 Bexar County Student Population (ages 6-17) year 2012
240,339 Bexar County Lunch Program 2013
183,314 Bexar County Free or Reduced Lunch 2013
44,000 San Antonio children in extreme poverty (50% of Poverty threshold) 2013
"Obesity rates among certain ethnic and racial populations in San Antonio are disproportionately high. For example, in Bexar County, 27% of black and Hispanic children are obese, while only 12% of white children are obese."
I'm so confused by all these numbers! They seem to indicate that the non-white kids are going hungry, and yet it's the white kids who are not obese. Which means the "ethnic and racial" kids are getting fat. How can a child be obese AND going hungry?
It's simple: refined sugars, processed carbs, no fruit, no vegetables. That will keep you hungry AND make you fat.
But really, I don't buy those numbers. There are far less kids going hungry than we're told. The "poverty level" is set comfortably at "living like kings" compared to other countries. Yes, there are hungry kids. But it's a handful! We do not need a meal program that serves 76% of students when only 10% need it.
The costs of a lost culture:
In our "impoverished" neighborhood my daughter hangs out with her friends. Many of the homes are run down and the grandparents or parents survive on a fixed income. But guess what--she always comes back with a full stomach and food to share.
Outside of America it is a cultural necessity to cook and bake and share food with family and friends. Even when you have nothing in the cupboard, you find something, you create something.
Government handouts in San Antonio have raped a culture of their food, their way of connecting and socializing. We have said, "We know what you should eat better than you do."
And so the pounds add up, and the people get sick. And the people lose their jobs. And the people are not people anymore; just victims waiting in line at McDonald's for another free meal.
What to do about it:
Stop participating! Refuse to fill out any forms about your income and do not let your child eat the federal school lunch/breakfast.
Send your child to school with a HEALTHY lunch and a full tummy.
Get healthy at home.
One fun game: My daughter is learning about plants in school. But there's no trace of a plant at the lunch table. At home she is taught, "We eat the thing closest to the tree." We play a game: what's closer to the tree? The apple or the apple juice? The candy bar or the almonds? Kids love this game and it's helpful in making those harder meal choices later on in life at an airport or even a vending machine.
What's nutritionally wrong with the McDonald's breakfast? It's just oatmeal! Right?! WRONG.
Angela's Musings about Public Education, Web Design, Business.