I would like to reply to the various comments regarding Jane Jech's March 10 letter about the waste in the school food program. I read her article and agreed. Then I read the responses. They did not address the main issue she raised about waste but instead made personal attacks, calling her uninformed and cruel followed by what I would call a personal prejudice against conservative evangelical Christians. Knowing that Jane is neither uninformed or cruel, I reread her letter.
I think we can all agree that there is a huge amount of waste in the school food program. This is nothing new. The point Jane was addressing was - why? It's an example of large government regulations run with the mindset that one size fits all, when in fact it does not. As is often the case, government programs start out with good ideas and intentions and then get lost in all the regulations, which often defy common sense.
The responses were more about the parenting issues and dependency. It is simply a fact that there are irresponsible parents who: spend money for "unwise expenditures" that instead should be used for food for their kids as well as weather appropriate clothing, who don't get up on time to prepare their kids for school, and who send their kids to school in unwashed, smelly clothes. These situations are not uncommon. They are facts. There are also parents who really struggle economically to do the best for their kids and sometimes find life overwhelming. To what extent and percentage of these family situations impact the school food program I don't know, but let's not deny that they have an impact. The question as to whether government food programs foster ongoing dependency probably has studies on both sides, but when there are consistent offers of almost anything, we do tend to depend on them.
The example of "feeding the animals," was in hindsight probably not the best choice; but what concerns me is that the responding comments showed a lack of graciousness as well as hearing and understanding the main point of the article. I would guess the responses to Jane's letter had more to do with her being a former political candidate. I wish it would be possible to treat each other with respect, use facts along with our emotions, and listen through the rhetoric to what is truly being said.