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We can fix this

Dan Reinhard, Minot

It was with truthful honesty that revealed school lunch payment problems from the letter written by Valerie Potter entitled: “No Child Left Hungry” in the MDN opinion page on February 15, 2020. She witnessed the problems facing our school lunch payment program with firsthand knowledge; she worked in the school cafeteria and saw many of the problems our schools have to deal with. She wrote a very comprehensive letter and all parents should read it again.

Yes, every child’s care is the parent’s ultimate responsibility but the solutions with all the attempts that schools use to remedy that sad situation still go unresolved. Albeit, I’ve written about it before, I’ll repeat my own personal experiences as a poverty stricken young boy. At that time, all lunches were prepared at the school cafeterias, potatoes were peeled, poultry and beef products were cooked in the ovens and fresh vegetables were prepared over a hot stove. There were fruits and even a small piece of desert cake was served. I went to school many times without having a supper the night before and never a breakfast meal. Standing in that long line waiting for Mrs. Janetti to overload my plate were the happiest times that I remember. My parents are long deceased and I won’t discuss all that caused that embarrassing situation in my youth, only to say, that alcohol is probably the most devious and destructive drug on planet earth.

There are far too many great lessons to discuss here that my career experiences in the US Air Force has taught me, but one of the most important was: Do not come to me about a problem unless you also came with a viable solution. So here goes:

1. What additional funds are available or can be secured through the USDA for school lunch programs? Our congressional delegation should research that prospect.

2. What funds can be made available from the literal mountain of cash being stored at the Bank of North Dakota or State Treasury? It that something our locally elected representatives should look into?

3. What funds are available at the city government level that might be better used to ensure that all the children are properly fed rather than being used in other nice-to-have projects instead of absolutely essential projects?

4. I am not a man of great wealth, but I will help sponsor a child by contributing to a school year lunch dues program for a needy child. I would wish to remain anonymous and do not need to know the identity of any child receiving my support.

When young and trying to survive, every teacher knew a great deal about me. They did not have to be a professional profiler to recognize a troubled child by his the ragged clothes, unkempt hair, behavior, or why I ran, with her scolding me, to be first into the lunch line…

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