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Ms. Elaine Kneeous

Jennifer is a one in a million stay-at-home mom. (More like one OF a million stay at home moms!) She graduated from a liberal arts college but there is nothing liberal OR artsy about her. She is married to Kevin Fischer of This Just In, and together they have a beautiful young daughter Kyla Audrey. In no particular order she loves dogs, wine, a good bargain, her family, pizza, and entertaining. Follow her blog of all things miscellaneous including but not limited to cooking and baking, entertaining and party planning, being a mommy, and homekeeping.

Culinary yes-yes #66

My recent Culinary Yes Yes blogs have been fun and light-hearted.  I’ve written about hot chocolate, Disney-inspired cocktails, and Schaum Torte.  For the most part, I leave the heavy hitting to my better half over on This Just In.  But this week, I take a serious turn and discuss a serious problem.  No laughing matter here…

While I realize that there will always be inequalities everywhere in the world, it’s the injustices that greatly disturb me.  Inequality, to me, means that there are some of us whose income only affords the purchase of ground beef while others can buy Waygu beef without batting an eye lash.  Injustice, to me, means that there are people (especially children) going hungry in the greatest country in the world, the United States.  With all of our country’s wealth, resources, and assistance programs it makes me absolutely CRAZY to think of kids’ tummies rumbling.

 




This isn’t our family’s, but it could be… stocked full of fresh, yummy food just there for the taking.  Source:  thecampuscompanion.com
 

Every year for “free” admission to German Fest, we donate non-perishable food items to the Hunger Task Force.    I realize on the site it states, “Bring a non-perishable food item” clearly implying one box of mac ‘n cheese is enough to get you in the gates.  As a family we can’t, in good conscience, expect to walk in with a can of corn, a box of pasta and a jar of peanut butter and feel that we’ve covered the cost of our admission OR done enough to help our local hungry.

Each time, I explain to Kyla that some babies don’t have enough food to fill their growing bellies and that is why we take food to German Fest to help them.  I explain that their mommies & daddies aren’t as fortunate as we are to have a full pantry, full fridge, and full freezer.  She gladly and proudly picks out items from the baby food section to make sure that she chooses healthy & nutritious selections that used to be HER favorites when she was just starting to eat solids.

As a part of the celebration of Catholic Schools Week this past January, her school hosted a food drive that supplemented our parish food pantry.  I reminded her of how we bring food to German Fest and that we were doing the same thing to help families that go to our church & school who don’t have enough to keep them nourished.  Once again she expressed genuine sympathy, concern, and compassion and reminded me that I needed to get baby food for the hungry babies.  She was so proud to bring her bag of treats in, knowing that she was doing a good thing to help others.

Since she started school this past fall, I’ve drilled in to her how important it is to eat properly during the day.  I stress the importance of breakfast to fuel her body for the morning and that lunch is necessary to keep her energy for the rest of the day.  I understand there are days and times when her appetite wanes due to excitement or not feeling quite right.  But if she doesn’t eat enough at school for any reason, she knows that as soon as she comes home she can request just about anything and it will be served to her within minutes.

While the thought of a typical school cafeteria lunch doesn’t illicit a Pavlovian reaction in most people…

 

 



…for many children it’s the most nourishing meal they get during the day.  (Let’s not even consider Mrs. Obama’s hell-bent mission of renovating these divided trays.  I’m not going there.)  Kids who are consistently hungry aren’t going to be picky:  they’ll gladly consume a burger that’s cooked within an inch of becoming a hockey puck and wash it down with a half-pint of whatever milk comes their way.  Do you think they’re going to turn their nose up at the veggies because they’re not garnished with parsley?  Mmm, probably not.

Now what happens when, by circumstances beyond their control, they can no longer take a tray filled with a hot, (at least semi-) nutritious meal in the middle of the day?  When mom or dad aren’t able to pay even a reduced fee and their lunch accounts go in the red, how is this handled?  For many children it means they are given a much smaller, meager cold substitute of a small sandwich and milk.  While still “something” it’s clearly not the same.

And do you think for one moment that their peers don’t notice the difference?  So out of those that could, at least, receive the bare minimum lunch they often don’t take it because of the stigma.  They’d rather feign fullness than accept something that their friends aren’t getting. 

Of course you remember the news story a couple weeks ago… the horrible situation in Utah where kids’ lunches were actually taken away from them and thrown in the garbage.  Wow.  Talk about something that’s not easy to digest.

Enter Kenny Thompson, whom some have dubbed “the Lunch Angel.”





The cynic in me hopes that parents won’t intentionally shirk their responsibility to pay their children’s lunch accounts in the hopes of charity from strangers.  But the idealist in me hopes that other generous souls will take their cue from Mr. Thompson and open their hearts & wallets in any way that they can.  To repeat myself, it makes me absolutely CRAZY to think of kids’ tummies rumbling.  So thank you, Mr. Thompson for your incredible generosity, compassion and kindness.  You’ve made an immediate and who knows how far-reaching positive effect on these students’ lives.

A “Lunch Angel” helping disadvantaged students?  My goodness…  it just might be the best Culinary Yes Yes of all time.



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