Children must not be passed over

Feb. 28, 2012 at 6:03 p.m.
Updated Feb. 27, 2012 at 8:28 p.m.

Editor, the Advocate:

A recently overheard conversation deploring the funneling of tax dollars to those who feed at the trough of welfare inspired me to express my thoughts in writing. The topic centered on the public education system, and the free meals offered at these institutions. While mention was made of those who choose not to work, I found it discouraging that those least able to control their environment, children, was the main focus.

I think there is indeed a welfare problem; however, I also think it goes much deeper than just those on the poverty side. There are those on the other side who also feed at the same trough. It may not be in the form of a government check, but corporate tax loopholes and upper and middle class misuse of the tax laws amount to a type of welfare, in my opinion. All should be held accountable except for the children, who just want their basic needs met.

I recall an experience in my early teens where my father offered our mostly played-out garden to a less fortunate family. I watched while the man and his son picked through what was left of the vegetables, and I was taken aback at the sight of the young boy consuming about every other tomato that he picked. It was my first close encounter with real hunger, and it is seared in my memory.

Talk is abundant about the sad state of the public education system from federal government intrusion to the lack of student respect for teachers. And while these are certainly valid issues, the fact remains that those children who do not have a stable family environment will not perform to their potential if such a basic need as nutrition is lacking. The vicious cycle of poverty and welfare dependence will continue. If a compassionate public does not provide these free meals, then to whom are the children to turn? I don't consider this to be a waste of taxpayer money, but an investment in the future of my country.

Mike Laza, Victoria



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