An article in the July 10 Frederick News-Post reported on free meals being served four days a week at eight Frederick County schools during the summer for those 18 and younger who qualify. Before continuing, I feel it necessary to provide the disclaimer that I believe in helping the less fortunate and I do by regularly supporting the Frederick Rescue Mission, etc. With that out of the way, here goes.

Part of the rub is that we are feeding an ever-growing number of other people’s children, and not only during the school year, but also over the summer. Are we alleviating the problem of hunger, or are we feeding dependency and in the process increasing the hunger problem?

Rep. Trone suggested the program be expanded (surprise, surprise) to include a Meals on Wheels type of program to those in rural areas. It’s not enough we are providing meals, but we should also deliver? Imagine the cost of purchasing/running a meal van. He also “hopes to secure more federal money for the program.” Not only should the people of Maryland pay to feed these children, but also taxpayers across the nation. The answer to our social ills is to expand government programs.

I counted 11 times the word “free” is used in the article, which also reported the state of Maryland is picking up the tab. I am interested in knowing the price of these free meals. We’ve been hearing the word “free” a lot lately from politicians: free health care, free college tuition, etc. Truth in advertising should require the label to be “subsidized.”

Apparently, it’s not enough we have social welfare programs to provide food assistance. Meals are being cooked up and served. Does it really take that much effort and resources to provide a bowl of oatmeal with raisins and an apple for breakfast, and soup and sandwich for lunch?

When those in government seize our money through taxation and give it to whomever they wish, whether we think it’s a good idea or not, that’s tyranny. When we voluntarily give our money, time and resources to help others, that’s charity.

The article concludes with an 8-year-old recipient exclaiming about the meal: “and it’s free.” His aunt replies: “And free is always fun.” I am troubled by the values being taught to these children — that government is there to provide for their needs, and best of all, it’s free. No, little ones, it’s not free.

Brian Baumgardner

Frederick

(34) comments

bgreenway

So many of the comments here are opposed to giving children food. Reminds me of the great plan laid out by the brilliant Irish author, Jonathan Swift. It's called A Modest Proposal. I think many here might like it! "A Modest Proposal. A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick."

MD1756

It appears the FNP doesn't like comments that call them out when they publish LTEs like this one but not letting comments on the web page go up that voice an opinion about responsibility and people's choice to have children they can't afford. They don't like it when it is pointed out that with roughly 7.8 billion people on this planet, we are causing much harm to the environment and other species and we should end public policies (like "free" meals) that help people have children they can't afford and thus contribute to the problems of climate change, species extinction, etc. I do not consent to be taxed to help the human population on this planet grow. Come up with some policies that address the underlying root causes. If Someone's children are getting free meals now, raise their taxes when they can afford it. If they never can afford it, that shows its likely poor planning and/or poor decisions versus true emergencies (catastrophic health issues, etc.) that has led them to rely on others to feed their children. By bringing children into the world that they can't afford, they are the primary cause of the "gaps" that politicians like to measure.

sue1955

Brian, your commentary is in line with my thoughts when I read the article. It "got me," also at the end of the article where the child said that free is good and his aunt agreed with him. Too many so-called disadvantaged think it's their right to make themselves available to all handouts. (I've known some of them). Such things sometimes remind me of people who got all those free turkeys and other food from the Redskins at Thanksgiving. As reported in Washington NBC news at the time, people would line up around the block. Then, the news footage would show some woman saying that she couldn't provide Thanksgiving dinner for her family without that help. However, she was working in her home kitchen that was quite luxurious and contemporary. Of course, that was not addressed.

sevenstones1000

“Are we alleviating the problem of hunger, or are we feeding dependency and in the process increasing the hunger problem?” Something you never heard Jesus say.

public-redux

He reportedly juiced attendance at his rallies by providing free food.

sevenstones1000

He did. And he never once “means tested” anyone before he gave them a meal.

public-redux

A lot of people are saying that the first to get fed were in the VIP section up front.

DickD

And he multiplied the bread and fish to feed thousands with some left over.

public-redux

Yes, undermining the market prices for the hardworking agricultural and seafood industries. Who knows how many farmers and fishers lost their livelihoods thanks to the sudden influx of supply.

BrianTBaumgardner

I never read where Jesus said governement was to take money from you and give it to someone else. He did say we are to help those in need. Big difference. While we're on the subject, check out what one of his disciples had to say: 1 Timothy 5:8

public-redux

Matt 22:15-22. Mark 12:13-17. Luke 20:20-26. Gospel of Thomas, verse 100.

yogib

The writer seems to be concerned about children receiving "free" food and yet we provide Farmers with "free" subsidies in the millions, Oil Companies in the billions, Wall street with billions of bail out money, and we hardly hear a peep, because somewhere along the line we have been brain trained that those subsidies are "good business". Well sir feeding children is good business also. Why would we want to starve our children who happen to be our future.

hayduke2

yogib - you beat me to it. This was going to be my response as well. I would add to your list the sweetheart deals to oil and gas rights on public land, the grazing right deals on public land, the millions to clean-up after big energy, etc.

User1

Really? Starve? The local tv channel blew it when they ran this story. School representative stating free lunch for children up to 18 years old. Then they cut to a “needy” mother. She simply stated “during the school year my kids normally eat breakfast and lunch at school, by them eating lunch for free during break it saves me a lot of money”. Wasn’t meant to save you money! Meant for the kids in need!

hayduke2

And maybe that saved money can go to other needs, like medicine, transportation, food for weekends, etc. Kind of quick to jump to conclusions. Did you see the TV program where veteran's families rely on food banks, etc. Do you put that in the same catergory since they need it to free up money. My point is don't be so quick to judgement or jumping on the high horse.

Thewheelone

Right on, Hay. [thumbup]

BrianTBaumgardner

So, if government doesn't provide meals, people will starve? Really? Did you know there are several organizations in Frederick that provide food for anyone that needs it? Don't take my word for it. Google it for yourself. Here's one to get you started. https://www.suntopia.org/frederick/md/food_pantries.php

tonyc51

I thought the most interesting comment in the article was, "And even if they don’t end up eating everything, each child must take a full tray of food." What a dumb way to run a program. The things they did not want ends up in the trash and no one benefits. I bet there are a lot of vegetables and fruits that end up in the trash, but not too many desserts.

sue1955

Spot-on, tonyc51.

Dwasserba

Some see a forest. Some just see...trees.

gary4books

When I was in the Army we sorted out our food waste and it went to feed pigs near the base.

threecents

So it is OK to provide charity in downtown Frederick to those in need, but it is not OK to provide four meals a week to kids at schools? This charity is actually more equitable than private charities because the cost is divided by all tax payers and only goes to those in need. I think we have an obligation to help those in need, and the best way to do that is often through government mechanisms like this.

gary4books

" No, little ones, it’s not free." And we have to know (or remember) that all spending is not bad. Either it is productive or it is not productive. And it is productive to have all children well nourished so they can grow and develop and learn as they should. Otherwise, the cost can be much greater.

fjulia

Perhaps it is time for you to really examine why children in the "richest" nation on earth don't have enough food. Additionally, taxes are not seized or taken (except in the minds of those who really want to ignore those not like themselves) but a part of the compact we must have as a country that believes all are created equal.

bgreenway

There are many many taxpayers who oppose our tax dollars going for bombs dropped on other countries ( by both Dem and Rep administrations). The obscene military budget gives us nothing, not even a bowl of oatmeal.

tonyc51

Defense of the country through the military gives you the right to complain about the military (and many other things). Free programs give only one thing the need for more free programs.

bgreenway

the us military defending? Puhlease, it's in over 150 countries! Are there 150 countries that we have to defend ourselves against? When was the last time the US was invaded? Oh, yeah, right, never. ( unless you are talking about the pilgrims et all but that was just before it was the USA so doesn't count).The five countries with the largest active-duty U.S. military presence in 2016 were Japan (38,818), Germany (34,602), South Korea (24,189), Italy (12,088) and Afghanistan (9,023). Of the top five countries, Afghanistan is the only one in open conflict , an issue that President Donald Trump addressed in a speech Monday. The Bill of Rights gives me the right to protest the actions of this nation. Not the military.

public-redux

The war of 1812 might count as an invasion.

tonyc51

fjulia, I can agree that children should not be mal nourished in this country. Yes we need to understand why this is the case. But if the analysis is honest I believe we will find it involves more than the usual reason given. For example- Lack of enforcement of child support payments (IE deadbeat parents); drug use (which steals the funds that are available to the parents); promiscuity (increasing the number of single parent families); deterioration of traditional family units (more mothers/fathers in jail or simply absent and uncaring); large numbers of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the country straining the safety nets (budgets); lack of education by parents (often the problem is of their own doing) to work (earn sufficient funds to support themselves and children) in the technical economy of today, ETC. So yes we need to make sure that children are not malnourished, but it is also well past time to address the real reasons.

public-redux

Some pessimistic once said that we will never be rid of the poors.

gary4books

Do you really want a government that can monitor and correct these human "flaws?" Or how else can we end promiscuity? And fix local families?

tonyc51

But can we not at least try to fix some of them such as enforcing child support?

threecents

Tony, Are you running for president? I don't see us solving those problems any time soon if you are not president. In the meantime stuff is still happening, and it would be nice if we deal with it. I don't think tough love or punishments are going to cover it.

tonyc51

I agree, but neither is throwing more money at a problem, and ignoring the root causes for it. That guarantees that none of it ever will be addressed.

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