In an article on msnbc.com from June 9, 2008, it was stated that lunch prices may have to increase by as much as 50% for the next school year because of rising costs. According to this article, the average cost of a school lunch for the 2007-2008 school year was $2.66, which included the food cost, non-food cost, labor and indirect costs. This same article mentioned that the federal subsidy for was $2.47 per lunch.
I could continue to quote statistics regarding federal subsidies, but they are not going to capture the true picture of the state of the school lunch program. Let me first start of by saying that I know there are many working parents who depend on the assistance of the school lunch program. On the other side, I know there are many parents who use the system to avoid taking responsibility for their own children and rely on the government to raise them.
In comparing prices between that which the school provides and a lunch made at home, I found that a basic lunch, including a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a snack and a juice bag costs about $0.85 per day. This does not include the non-food costs of a lunch back or sandwich bags which would add about $0.20 per day to the cost. The total cost to send a child to school with a relatively healthy lunch for an entire week is $5.25. If that same amount was applied to purchasing lunch at school, a child would eat for two days (based on national averages).
So, as we continue to battle rising prices everywhere, instead of straining a “system”, that really should be the exception, not the rule, how much pressure could we, as parents of school age children, do to alleviate the strain and provide for our children. Now, that may involve some parents actually getting up, out of the house and working to support their children. I know, I know, horrible thought. But, if a man and a woman are going to bring a child into this world, then they need to be able to provide for them. That may mean that both parents need to work outside of the house to provide those basic needs. And to clarify, a basic need doesn’t mean that the children need to wear name brand clothing, have every electronic toy under the sun and ride to school in a sport’s car or SUV, but rather the basics – A loving home, parents (yes this is plural) supporting the children (on all levels), teaching sound moral and ethical reasoning, the value of work, and a goal to be better than the generation before…
If our fore-fathers had the same entitlement mentality as is running rampant today, I seriously doubt that America would be an independent nation. We would probably still be living under the British Crown.