Our kids deserve better

Excellent news to learn that there is a District Parent Advisory Council that is getting involved in finding a solution with the problems with school lunches in this community.

A couple of years ago I wrote a letter to The Morning Star in order to talk about the school lunch system in my native country, Finland. Finland is by population about the size of British Columbia.

This letter was written after I saw week after week kids queuing up in the store with greasy food, candy and pop in their hands.

Nothing nutritious but only harmful snacks for growing kids, not to mention expensive. And what about kids who didn’t have any money?

I was wondering how on Earth was my poor and small country in the far north, all these years ago, able to establish laws for all kids to have the right for equal and free education, and free school lunches on top of that? All this after World War II and heavy war sanctions to Russia. But our parents and politicians were longsighted. They saw then that the only way to take care of the future is to take care of our children.

Now, so many years later, everyone can read from the papers how Finland is always ranked No. 1 in the world in education and school system. Why? Doesn’t work with an empty stomach or bad nutrition.

We are what we eat and the brain is a very important part of the development of a child and only with good nutrition you can ensure this development. The most important thing is to feed our children properly to help them in their education. I appreciate the voluntary program to feed the hungry kids, but it hurts to be the poor child in a classroom, doesn’t it? That’s why a system equal to all is much better.

In Finland it is the responsibility of the town or community to establish the lunches, why not here?

Are there any parents or grandparents in the council, who would be interested in the future?

Since my article there has been empty bike lanes built, beautification to the front of the city hall, new fancy street lamps on 20th and 29th Street, new landscaping from the north end of the city etc. But where is the future? You don’t live from the beauty alone, you must have good food first.

Maybe even with the pocket money for the children to buy lunch, parents would rather pay for a balanced meal in schools and be billed once a month for that, and those who cannot afford can be offered this service for free? Simple enough?

Maybe with higher food prices this issue will get the appreciation it deserves and people will understand the need. Teachers are first to see the trouble and even in Finland Mondays are packed with hungry children, even today and then school lunches are vital.

I will be sending this letter also to our new premier and the Ministry of Education and promise to offer advice to anybody who is interested in establishing contacts to learn how to feed the children in a country of five million people.

 

Anja Jantti

Vernon, B.C.