Schools should provide lunch

Published 10:16 am Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No child should have to worry about being hungry instead of solving math problems.

No young boy or girl should have to worry about being teased because his or her parents can’t afford to provide lunch.

No student should have to listen to his or her stomach growl because someone didn’t fill out or process the paperwork correctly.

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These are the principles that are the basis of free or reduced lunch legislation proposed by Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown, changes to a system that many have long considered to be flawed.

Ohio ranks 15th worst in the nation with a food insecurity rate of 12.2 percent. Food insecurity measures the percentage of individuals who are experiencing difficulties in providing food for their family.

Brown’s proposed $2 billion legislation is geared to reduce paperwork and administration costs by having school districts use data from Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program to directly enroll students in the meal programs.

In addition to creating a system that would automatically enroll those who are eligible, and hopefully eventually expand to include free lunches for all students, we hope the government will also consider a discreet way of administering free lunches

Brown also hopes to expand schools’ summer lunch programs so that nutrition doesn’t have to be a partial-year concern.

We applaud Brown for his efforts and urge Congress to work hard toward making this become a reality.

Even during these tough economic times when government must work to rein in its spending, this is a program that is worth the money because it invests in our nation’s future and the success of our children.