Kudos to nutrition program
A poverty seminar held in Rutherfordton in March highlighted the startling fact that one in three children in Rutherford County live at or below the poverty line.
Daily Courier Senior Reporter Jean Gordon wrote a column after attending the event and asked the basic question:
“When we hear that an alarming 30 percent of our children do not have their basic needs met — food, clothing, shelter — we ask why and what can we do?”
It’s a simple question with a variety of complex answers.
But, Rutherford County Schools is taking a step in the right direction.
Tuesday, Child Nutrition Director Lori Moore proposed bringing the schools into the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The program, in simple terms, provides free breakfast and lunch to all school children that attend Rutherford County Schools.
What a great idea.
While it may be billed as a way to make the nutrition program with the schools more efficient and save on the costs to process free and reduced lunch applications, the wide-ranging effects of the program impact much more.
We know the stigma attached to people perceived as being poor.
They are often laughed at or teased because their stuff is not as nice as those of others.
There is also the stress children who are poor live with. The level of frustration, falling behind at school and being in a constant mode of survival can certainly take its toll on the psyche of a child.
What this program does is level the playing field for students.
Even though students will still go through the lunch line and up to the cashier, no one has to declare they are getting their breakfast or lunch for free because all students are.
Going hungry through a day of classes can be a miserable experience for a child. It reduces concentration and lessens the ability for a child to learn in the classroom.
Now, with this program, those instances become minimal.
Kudos to Moore and RCS for taking the initiative to explore and implement this new nutrition program.
Moore said it right when she said “our students deserve those things.”
She is 100 percent right.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark