All kids in Detroit public schools to get free federal government-supplied lunch

Federal officials who are fond of feeding children in need have determined the self esteem of kids has suffered because they get a free lunch at school. So instead of promoting programs to lift the spirits of the kids -and improve the economic situation for the families – they’re going to give free lunches to all the kids.

Nanny state 101. Get those in need dependent on the government as soon as possible. Then expand. From Henry Payne over at The Corner a few days ago gives us this tid-bit about the  recent $4.5 billion expansion of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.

This new program is part of Obama’s orgy of spending, a binge that has ballooned the federal budget by 25 percent since his inauguration. But the program’s logic is even more insane than the price tag: The administration says it is giving rich kids free food to eliminate the shame that less-fortunate students may feel in receiving free food. We’re not making this up.

“We’ve worked very hard to reduce the stigma,” Aaron Lavallee, a U.S. Department of Agriculture spokesman, told the Detroit News. “We’re seeing a lot of working-class families who’ve had to turn to free school meals to feed their children.” …

“Now all students will walk through a lunch line and not have to pay,” says Mark Schrupp, Detroit Public Schools COO. “Low-income students will not be easily identifiable and will be less likely to skip meals.”

Changing subjects to obesity…

As of 2010, Michigan has one of the highest rates of obesity – for adults – in the country at 30.9 percent. Only Mississippi (34 percent) and South Carolina (31.5 percent) have higher obesity rates, so although they certainly may not be eating healthy, the state’s populous does not seem to be in the habit of skipping meals.

In an undated document on the website (I think it is from 2008), we find the state has dozens of programs to fight childhood and teen obesity. The document identifies the trends which do not look good at all.

The chart to the right (click to expand) shows that 19 percent of 6 to 11 year-olds were considered overweight in 2004. Sorry, I just don’t have the time to find more current information, but I don’t think the trend has reversed.

The programs? The document entitled the Statewide Scan of Childhood Obesity Programs, Policies and Resources in Michigan identified 122 programs for high school kids and 122 programs for middle school students.

So how are those school lunches anyway?

Although the results are not in after the implementation of the 2010 Child Nutrition bill – the same bill that expanded the role of the federal government in feeding kids by $4.5 billion – the food quality at schools was considered lower than that of fast food joints.

In March 2010, USA Today notes

The safety initiatives in the Senate bill [same as noted above] follow a USA TODAY series that found dangerous flaws in government programs that are supposed to guarantee that food served to students is free of E. coli O157:H7, salmonella and other contaminants.

The newspaper found that 23,000 children were sickened by food they ate at school from 1998 through 2007, and it highlighted instances in which schools unwittingly served students food that had been recalled. The newspaper also found that norovirus, usually linked to improper food handling, is the most common food-borne illness in schools, yet about 26,000 school cafeterias have not had mandatory, twice-yearly inspections.

“Schools aren’t getting all the information they need from the federal government to keep our kids safe from tainted products,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y. Gillibrand added language to the bill that would direct the USDA to develop new procedures for giving schools advance warning when a product in school meals is facing a recall.

Once the 2010 legislation became law later in the year, the trend in the media seemed to have changed. (OK, maybe it hasn’t since you can find pro and con stories all over the place over the years.) Maybe there was some funding in there for marketing to attack the practice of making lunches for your own kids and sending them to school with it? Within the last few weeks, we’ve seen stories about the dangers…

Goodness … maybe it really is better not to eat…


In April I noted a Chicago school was outright banning parents from sending their kids to school with their own lunch.

In March 2010 I wrote a bit about the 10,000 pound gorilla in the room: diabetes.

There are huge economic and health issues to deal with when it is expected more than 100 million Americans will be obese within the next decade and one of every five health care dollars will be used to treat obesity and diabetes by 2018.

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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Eric on August 25, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Yup, lets hook ’em at a young age. ?Get them used to relying on the government for everything! ?Just pathetic!

    • Dimsdale on August 25, 2011 at 9:17 pm

      Maybe it is prophetic in that ?bama will have us all standing in soup lines….

  2. kipitwic on August 26, 2011 at 7:14 am

    This is scary.? Not only is this hooking the youngsters to entitlements at an early age; but, it is also a testing ground for Monsanto produced foods.? I can only wonder what is in the foods they are serving.? It surely isn’t fresh healthy organic food.? As a parent and grandparent I won’t let my kids eat school prepared foods.? They have and always will take lunches prepared at home.? But, then again I don’t have to worry as all my greatgrandkids are home schooled.??? Big Brother is not going to get a chance to warp their minds and make them into nonthinking adults.

  3. SeeingRed on August 26, 2011 at 10:05 am

    They can provide all of the free stuff they want, but until some bureaucrat discovers a way to inject? the will to succeed and desire to pull yourself up, places like Detroit are on the fast track to no where.

    • Murphy on August 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm

      What bureaucrat wants them to succeed without requiring the governments help?

  4. RoBrDona on August 26, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    I’m with Eric. This is the exact business plan of heroin dealers. Undercut the market or just offer free wares in new neighborhoods, get the kids hooked, and you have a user (vote) for life (or until the inevitable overdose or diabetes death). It is an awfully bleak policy of reinforcement of the victim-class. ?

  5. Lynn on August 27, 2011 at 8:10 am

    Classic no-win situation.

  6. Shared Sacrifice on August 28, 2011 at 12:06 am

    What about the parents?? If the kids aren’t being nourished right at home, then neither are the parents.? Surely we can go for broke and invite all of the parents and family members for three hots a day too- and maybe midnight snacks along with midnight basketball or something??? Then the parents can use their food stamps for more important things, like buying and dumping bottled water so they can get the bottle deposit money and buy 40 bottles of beer and party mixers!

  7. rachel on August 29, 2011 at 4:13 am

    Let’s not forget that public school systems receive huge kickbacks from companies like Sodexo to do “business” with them.? And the food is mass produced, unhealthy and now provided for free to all kids?? I guess lack of healthy school lunches for all is “fair”.? There’s way? more to this than meets the eye.


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