Go to work on an egg
, was the slogan from the 1950s. Granted, that came from the "Egg Marketing Board", and they probably had a vested interest, but it was recognised back then that having a decent breakfast was conducive to having a productive day.
Y'know what? I'm probably the worst person in the world to tell anyone else that a hearty breakfast is a good thing. My breakfast habits are appalling. If I have any breakfast, at the very least it's a couple of slices of toast. On a good day I might go for a full fry-up, but that's still usually about 3pm, and I don't have to eat a single thing for the rest of the day. But that's my choice; I have the facts at my disposal and it's up to me as to whether or not I act upon them.
Our kids are going hungry in the mornings, and perhaps they don't have that choice. What angered me more wasn't that kids were going to school without a decent breakfast, was the comments that followed from the article: Rage, rage, why do my taxes fund free breakfasts for kids when their parents can't provide? A box of cornflakes costs x while a bottle of milk costs y - yet they still can't feed 'em in the mornings. Why?
Well, why? Not everyone has the benefit of granny-wisdom these days. I can cook a decent meal from very little, because my grandparents went through WW2 and passed on their tips and tricks about food and nutrition, and my parents passed those on to me. If I had my own kids, I'd be making sure that once they were out in the big bad world, they'd also have the basic culinary skills to survive. What's the world coming to?
But it's not so easy these days, is it? Back then, dad went to work, mum stayed at home. Dad's income was usually enough to sustain a family, and if it wasn't, Mum would maybe get a wee part-time job to help ends meet. Not so these days. Whatever the family structure, mums and dads often have to take on more than one job to balance the household books. Working hours are more "flexible", which often means that parents have little time to see their kids, let alone pass along those vital cooking skills.
Why should we fund breakfasts? Well, why did we begin to provide school lunches? I'm a bit short of evidence, but I found this: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/resources/school-dinners/
In short, it was to improve public health. If we have to extend the principle of providing lunches to kids to providing breakfasts, why is that such a bad thing? Times have changed and we need to adapt to those changes.
The price of providing decent, wholesome meals is minimal in comparison with the costs of letting these kids starve. If it costs us 22p a day to allow a child to learn and progress in life, so be it. How much does it cost per day to keep an adult in prison?