By Jamie Bear | Jamestown
I was recently organizing a fundraising event to help pay off some school lunch debts, when I discovered some alarming news. When a child in the Jamestown Public Schools system goes into lunch debt for a certain amount of time, that child is offered a cheese sandwich. This cheese sandwich is charged to their account for the same price as regular lunch. This doesn’t make any sense to me. I feel like we are shaming the one person that doesn’t have any control over family finances. Oftentimes a child refuses to even take that cheese sandwich out of embarrassment and ends up going without lunch at all.
We are doing a great disservice to not only these children, but their families as well. It is not uncommon for many families that do not qualify for free or reduced lunches to struggle financially. Some months it might come down to providing their children with need medicines or hot lunch; fixing the family car or hot lunch; repairs on the furnace or hot lunch. These decisions are excruciatingly stressful for families and to add embarrassment, shame and sadness to their children does not help. Providing a lesser meal at the same price as regular lunch does not help these families catch up.
I take great pride in this community and I urge you to help make a difference. Please contact your school board members and district leaders. Let them know that this is unacceptable. We can do better than this, we ARE better than this. Our children deserve better than this. You can find the names and emails of our school leaders at www.jamestown.k12.nd.us