Proposed NJ Food program cuts..."a glitch"?
April 23, 2010
Monday afternoon, Rosa Ramirez, Director of St. Joseph's Pro-Cathedral Breakfast and Lunch Programs, representing her CCOP church community and the Camden Diocese, traveled to Trenton to testify before the State Assembly Budget Committee on the proposed cuts to the school food programs. Traveling with Mrs. Ramirez was a van of youth and adults organized through CCOP, all participants in the schools food programs. "I wanted the Assemblymen and women to look in the faces of the children that will go hungry every school day if the move forward with these outrageous cuts," explained Mrs. Ramirez.
Following her passionate testimony, the group from Camden was shocked at the response from Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer, Vice-Chair of the Budget Committee. "I'm hearing Mrs. Ramirez that the proposed cut to the State's food programs was a glitch, a technical mistake." Assemblyman Schaer, did not go into details about the "glitch or technical mistake" but upon hearing this comment Mrs. Ramirez responded, "I hope so, the state can't possibly do this to its children."
At St. Joseph's Pro-Cathedral elementary school alone, over 75% of the students receive either free or a reduced price for the breakfast, lunch, and snack program. "We only give them the good stuff, none of that fatty junk food," explained Juanita Cruz, Assistant to Mrs. Ramirez at St. Joseph's. She added, "These children are coming from working families, of the 253 enrolled in our program only 38 are on welfare."
Adding to the energy and passion of their trip to Trenton is the fact that one of President Obama's national goals was to end childhood hunger by 2015. Supporting this initiative the US Senate Agricultural Committee approved last month legislation that will allocate an additional 4.5 billion dollars over the next 10 years for nutrition programs. This legislation would also expand the number of low income children eligible for free or reduced cost meals.
Still, Mrs. Ramirez and her school are still planning to keep an eye on the budget developments. "I don't know how something this massive could be just a "glitch", makes you wonder how many more "glitches" there are with this budget."