There are many things to complain about when it comes to our government and the decisions that are made in Washington. But there is one amazing program the U.S. government has supported since the beginning of the pandemic. There has been no fanfare, no arguments, no bipartisan discussion, no memes, and no political cartoons. You may have thought—like I did— that free lunch was just another COVID protocol to keep kids safe. I thought it was a good one and it was one less thing to worry about as a parent.
When the program was continued in Woodstock through the entire last school year, even in April when kids went back to school four days a week, I was a little surprised and very appreciative. Then over the summer it was announced that the free breakfast and lunch program would continue for the 2021-2022 school year as well.
Honestly, I thought Vermont was just doing things right. My family is fortunate not to have any food insecurity, but knowing that all kids in the school community were able to eat was great. Schools even set up “no contact” pick-ups for families on days when the kids were remote! There had been so many things to complain about I decided to write a letter thanking the people in Montpelier for doing such a good and practical thing for our children. Imagine my surprise when I learned that it wasn’t just a Vermont program but a policy for all American school children. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which is in charge of the subsidized school lunch program, now pays for every child, from day care through twelfth grade, to eat breakfast and lunch. Wow!
How did it go unnoticed? I have learned it happened almost by accident. Policy makers, hoping to relieve a small amount of family hardship responded to the emergency by making this small but important corner of their world a better place. Now they have announced they will continue the program for the 2021-2022 school year as well.
Turns out, feeding kids is a good thing. I doubt anyone can argue with that!