Socialism is happening all around us: Have you noticed – do you really care?

Thomas Paine once said, “The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes”.

What could be more noble than feeding children? Seems innocent enough – right?

So who could possibly object to our own Weatherford Independent School District (WISD) feeding children?

Well – let’s take a quick look at the current feeding policy.  The following comments were taken from a Weatherford Democrat article dated  June 2, 2010.

All kids age 18 and younger are eligible for the WISD program, which will only be offered at Crockett Elementary, 1015 Jameson St. in Weatherford.

Funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, the free food is not limited to area residents, WISD students or those who qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year. No proof of age or income level is required, and kids can just show up.

“There is no registration, no meal tickets for this,” Goodman said. “The biggest misunderstanding is that parents think they have to apply for it.”

“We want the school breakfast and lunch program to be a healthy alternative to the fast food that is available to children.

Hooks will raise awareness for the program again this year and has posted information on the city’s website at http://www.weatherfordtx.gov. He will also issue a proclamation Tuesday, June 8.

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We know what Thomas Paine would say of this socialistic policy of using United States Department of Agriculture funds (your tax dollars – assuming you are a tax payer) to pay for meals for everyone 18 years of age and under who shows up.

It would be difficult to think of a better example of socialism right here in Parker County, unless perhaps it is the policy some of our teachers apply when at the beginning of each school year, they have their students place all their school supplies together, then distribute them equally to all students.

America, what is happening to us???  Why do we continue to tolerate the assault on our Constitution?

The following is the Weatherford Democrat article to which we refer:

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June 2, 2010

WISD serves up free meals to kids

Judy Sheridan CNHI

WEATHERFORD — Meanwhile, area food banks are gearing up for high demand, and in some cases stepping up their programs to try to meet it.

All kids age 18 and younger are eligible for the WISD program, which will only be offered at Crockett Elementary, 1015 Jameson St. in Weatherford. The program will be held in conjunction with summer school, which began yesterday and goes through Aug. 6.

Hall Middle School and Wright Elementary, serving sites last summer, will not provide food this year.

Funded through the United States Department of Agriculture, the free food is not limited to area residents, WISD students or those who qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year. No proof of age or income level is required, and kids can just show up.

“There is no registration, no meal tickets for this,” Goodman said. “The biggest misunderstanding is that parents think they have to apply for it.”

Breakfast will be offered from 7:15 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and lunch from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. with the food cooked and served as it is during the regular school year. Portions will be allotted, with students expected to choose three different foods from four food groups, to include a meat or meat alternative, fruit or vegetable, bread or grain and skim or 1 percent milk.

The school district is reimbursed from the federal government monthly on a per meal basis, and each meal must fit government standards to qualify as reimbursable.

“We want the school breakfast and lunch program to be a healthy alternative to the fast food that is available to children. Our food is lower in fat, and we provide more fruits and vegetables than some of the commercial alternatives,” Goodman said, adding that the school district will benefit from an unexpected $4,000 boost in federal funds for domestic produce during the month of June.

Last summer, Goodman reported feeding about 16,000 children through the program, and WISD was honored with a proclamation from the City of Weatherford for its efforts.

In the past, Weatherford Mayor Dennis Hooks has supported the program through a mayor’s challenge sponsored by the Texas Department of Agriculture. Hooks will raise awareness for the program again this year and has posted information on the city’s website at http://www.weatherfordtx.gov. He will also issue a proclamation Tuesday, June 8.

“There are many children who may not have the opportunity for consistent and nutritious meals during the summer,” Hooks said. “With the Texas Department of Agriculture’s initiative and the support of local communities and ISDs such as Weatherford ISD, we hope that no child goes hungry this summer.”

Goodman said that cutting back to one campus should not decrease participation in the program as most of the kids who have taken part in it have had another reason to be on campus, enrolled in summer school for example, or camp.

“Traditionally we haven’t seen many who come from within the community,” Goodman said, “but we hope that by publicizing it more, more will come.”

The program has been advertised in student fliers, posted online at city and school district websites and posted physically at the Weatherford Public Library, washeteria and food banks, she said.

“We have also reached out to churches, hoping they will partner with us by providing transportation,” she said. “Federal regulations require that bus transportation be included during the school year, but it’s not something that’s affordable for school districts in the summer.”

A study done by the state Food and Research Action Center in 2006 showed that of the 17 million children eligible for free or reduced price lunches during the 2006 school year, only 2.9 million participated in summer nutrition programs. “I believe that it’s due to not having transportation,” Goodman said.

Bus transportation is provided for summer school attendees, but the lack of funds has limited summer school offerings this year, according to WISD Director of Communications Derik Moore.

“In past years, WISD has had the financial resources to serve students based on local criteria in a summer school program. Under the current financial constraints, WISD will serve only students who are required to participate in accelerated instruction which is paid with state and federal funds,” he said.

Last year, summer school instruction was available for preK-4 through grade 8, according to Linda Crownover, executive director of curriculum and instruction. This year, however, instruction will be limited to bilingual education in preK-4 and kindergarten and intervention to prepare for the TAKS tests in grades 5 and 8.

The economic downturn is taking a toll in the community, Goodman said, commenting that 43 percent of WISD students qualified for free or reduced price lunches during the regular school year in 2009-2010, in contrast to 37 percent last year.

Area food banks agree. “All food banks are running short, as far as I know,” said Ann Stevens, president of the board at Manna Storehouse, a non-profit organization that helps needy families in Parker County. “I’m assuming it’s because the demand is greater. We are seeing a lot of people seeking help now that have never sought help before.”

Michelle Buchanan, special projects coordinator for another local non-profit, Center of Hope, said her organization will boost efforts to feed needy children this year by expanding its mobile Camp Hope from two locations to four and by including cooking classes to teach children how to prepare inexpensive meals. Camp Hope is in its third year of providing free lunches to needy children.

Center of Hope is looking for about 40 volunteers to man the program, which will also include mentoring, sewing and building instruction and Bible study. Camp Hope will be held from about 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and will set up in Western Lakes Estates on Monday, Jameson Street Apartments on Tuesday, one yet to be determined location on Wednesday and Cypress View Apartments on Thursday. The program will run from mid-June to the first week in August.

“It is tragic that every summer the demand goes up, and the supply goes down,” Buchanan said. “The need for food is huge. Last summer our food pantry manager said we were experiencing the greatest food shortage in the 11 years he has been here.”

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Please comment on this WISD policy if you find it to be objectionable.

One response

  1. Margaret Parker

    It’s hard to argue against feeding children or old people unable to fend for themselves. But redistributing the school supplies is too much. If you want to contribute to the school supplies. Do it up front. Some townships have drives at a local store(WalMart) where the people of the community can voluntarily contribute so much money to the school for supplies when they are buying their own kids stuff, or just buying groceries. I think that is more equitable.

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