Valuable program’s expansion is good in short run

For those unfamiliar with it, the Backpack Buddies program through the Souris Valley United Way, is a highly successful program for children in need to provide the very basic necessity of life – food.

Souris Valley United Way was the initial funder and local affiliate for Backpack Buddies, which has expanded to assist 192 hungry schoolchildren with supplemental food on the weekends. The Backpack Buddies program provides identified children with nutritious, easy to prepare food at times when other resources are not available, such as weekends and school vacations.

The need has risen to expand from five elementary schools to six. Bell Elementary School will be added to the Backpack Buddies program to serve over 15 children in need of the program. The program is currently at Sunnyside, McKinley, Lewis and Clark, Washington and Roosevelt elementary schools. There is a need to expand to all the schools, but until the program has the yearly funding to do so they will continue to try and move into the next school with the most need each year.

The estimable program expanding its service is a good thing to see, assuming data demonstrates need. Backpack Buddies has done a good job in raising its profile and developing strong support for those who support its importance. Bravo for the contributors, staff members and volunteers who have made this possible.

That said, as a community, we must not lose sight of the fact that the overall goal of any social program is not to see it expand. Instead, in the big picture, it should be to foster an economic environment in which programs such as this are not needed. Charity speaks to the virtue of the charitable; an expanding economy leaving no one behind and in need of basic nutrition, speaks of the virtue of an entire community – even civilization.

So while we praise Backpack Buddies and hope it can address all of the need in the community, Minot Daily News also continues to advocate for policy that grows and diversifies the economy, that drives wages up through the simple beauty of supply and demand, so that one day, there will be minimal need for such programs.

Now that would be a victory.