We all need a hand. Sometimes we give a hand, sometimes we need one.

Many schools have a breakfast program, or a bin of food that is available in the classroom. It surprises me about the reactions we sometimes hear about free food programs.

"There is no reason for any child not to have a good breakfast at home. Oats are cheap and it only takes a few minutes to cook up a big pot of porridge!"

Yes, that is true. But, it presupposes that a parent has a way of getting to the store and back. It presupposes that this parent is not driven to spend what money he or she does have on an addiction. It presupposes that that parent has access to money and is not powerless or has to beg for resources. We assume all parents have the organizational skills to buy and make porridge, get the kids up and dressed, encourage the child to eat something that is not familiar, and get that child to school on time.

And, this attitude punishes the children, who are already stressed.

Yes, we do have children who take food out of the bin who really don't "NEED" it--but for the child who is hungry, seeing well fed classmates eating that food, gives her the acceptance that all kids, and not just poor kids are eating from the basket.

Please, look away, and be thankful that you have food to share with your school community--whether they need it or not. Create an atmosphere where sharing food is not only tolerated, but encouraged. Keep a basket of "extra" food that someone cannot eat, and does not want to take home. If you say, "I must be on a growth spurt, because I just didn't bring enough food today," and take something out of the communal basket, doesn't that raise that basket to a level of acceptance and not just a charity?

We all need a hand. Sometimes we give a hand, sometimes we need one.

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