Seeing the Round Corners

March 27, 2017

For the next few weeks, columns from the archives will appear while this writer takes a break to get a brand new shoulder. Enjoy!

Today’s column is one to keep in mind when you start seeing the cuts that will be made in order to pay for a massive military expansion by the Trump Administration.

July 29, 2013


As most Coloradans (and Americans) know, the wheels of government move slowly, a point on which there is not much disagreement.

In November of 2009, a program was launched by then-Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. – the “Campaign to End Childhood Hunger,” with a goal of ending childhood hunger in 2015.

Somewhat buried in all the news releases and publicity on the Campaign are some dire statistics that cause this writer to wonder why it took Colorado’s legislature until 2013 to pass legislation addressing such a deplorable situation.

  • The 2007 Census data reveals more than 17 million children in the United States face hunger; and
  • More than 18 percent of children live in poverty.

   The first solid progress toward the Campaign was passage of Senate Bill 10-106 which created a Food Systems Advisory Council. Two of the areas of interest the Council was tasked with considering were:  1) an examination of foods made available to children, including those in public schools, and consideration of ways to improve the nutritional quality of those foods and increase children’s access to locally grown foods; and 2) design recommendations to improve school nutrition and increase access to locally grown foods, incorporate input from and coordinate with the work of the Colorado Campaign to End Childhood Hunger by 2015, initiated by Executive Order of the Governor.

Finally, in 2013, House Bill 13-1006 was passed by Colorado General Assembly. HB 1006 creates the “Breakfast After the Bell Nutritional Program,” and requires that “every school with 70 percent or more of students eligible for free or reduced lunch to offer a free breakfast to each student enrolled in the school.” The program begins in the 2014-15 school year.

Numerous and well-accepted studies show that breakfast is by far the most important meal of the day for children, with significant improvement noted in several areas. Hunger Free Colorado attributes eating breakfast to:

  • Improved math and reading;
  • Improved standardized test scores, especially around test-taking time;
  • Decreased tardiness and suspensions; and
  • Improved memory, attentiveness and overall health.

   Even though HB 1006 mandates implementation of the “Breakfast After the Bell Nutrition Program” beginning in Fiscal Year 2014-15, a federal nutrition program, the School Breakfast Program, provided breakfast for 87,000 students in Colorado in the 2010-11 school year. For 2011-12, that number grew to 108,509 average daily school breakfasts.

Summer time and students out of school brings a different problem for meals to students who participate in the meal programs offered at school. Littleton Public School received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a program that enabled the school to provide both breakfast and lunch, Monday through Friday, for Summer 2013 at Field Elementary, East Elementary and at Littleton High School. This program has been in operation for several years.

Partners in the Colorado No Kid Hungry Campaign breakfast and lunch programs include the Hunger Free Colorado, Share Our Strength and the Office of Governor John Hickenlooper, a public-private initiative “working to ensure that all children have nutritious food at home, at school and in their communities.”

These partners are responsible for a five-year comprehensive plan released in December of 2010 to end childhood hunger in Colorado. One of the goals is to expand the School Breakfast Program to more than 130,000 students meaning “a healthy start to each school day.”

Statistics (2012 Colorado) from the Children’s Defense Fund show:

  • Number of children living in Colorado:  1,216,485
  • Number of children who receive food stamps:  208,000
  • Number of children in School Lunch Program:  399,026
  • Number of children in Summer Food Service Program:  15,569
  • Number of women and children receiving Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children:  104,129
  • A child dies before his or her first birthday every 20 hours

   Each time the news coverage runs on Egypt, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Americans are reminded just how many billions in foreign aid are sent to those countries. The countries have nothing more to show for it than rioting and corrupt rulers who turn and spit on America while demanding more aid. The costs to deal with and accommodate the marijuana crowd in Colorado escalate at a phenomenal pace, while marijuana regulation is shown more urgency than childhood hunger.

Yet, here in America, right here in Colorado, children go to school hungry and then go home and go to bed hungry!

What in the name of God is wrong with this country?

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