Dear Editor,

Well, my dander is up again! According to an article in today’s Reno Gazette Journal, ”The Community Eligibility Provision, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is providing free meals to all students in high poverty areas, regardless of income”. The Washoe County School District announced that “all students at 39 designated schools will be offered free breakfast and lunches.” There are 20,000 students in the Reno area participating.

What?!? In my travels throughout the Reno/Sparks area, I have seen very few signs of poverty. Yes, a lot of folks live in mobile homes, prefabricated homes, apartments, duplexes, and small modest houses such as yours and mine in Hawthorne, but that does not constitute poverty. Compared to third world countries where truly devastating conditions exist, these people are well- off. Yes, there is a homeless problem in Reno, as in most large cities, but I doubt that many of the homeless are school age children. Rather, most of the families in these areas have multiple vehicles in their driveways, TVs, computers, cell phones, and all the basic comforts. Perhaps even money to gamble. Yes, provide to the truly needy, but don’t take parental responsibility from everyone.

One reason given for including everyone in the free meals distribution was to “decrease the stigma of receiving free meals.” So they have done that by extending the stigma to the entire school population and community? Another reason was to ease the administration burden. If providing school meals has become such a burden, why not have schools get back to being institutions of learning and open the cafeterias to companies such as Trinity, which provides meals to prisons?

With this program, families who can well afford to feed their children will be handing their parental responsibility over to the government. Much of the food will end up in the trash. I have seen firsthand the waste that goes on in school cafeterias. Now multiply the number of participants in Washoe County by the number of participants in other cities throughout the United States, and the answer is mind-boggling!

Dependency upon the government is exactly what those politicians in favor of socialism are promoting. If these kind of programs continue to infiltrate our country, this will no longer be the “land of the Pilgrims’ pride”. America as we know it will be gone.

Beverly Kichenmaster