State Rep. Cynthia Davis, R-O'Fallon, is staking out a strong position on child hunger: She's for it. "Hunger can be a positive motivator," she notes in the latest edition of her newsletter.
More precisely, Ms. Davis is against summer feeding programs for poor kids. They are an excuse "to create an expansion of a government program," she says.
Ms. Davis chairs the House Special Standing Committee on Children and Families.
In that position, she might be expected to have insight into child hunger in our state.
She might know, for instance, that about one in five Missouri children
lives with hunger. That ties us with Louisiana for the nation's seventh-highest rate, according to a report released last month by the hunger-relief charity Feeding America.
Or that the recession has pushed the number of poor Missouri kids who qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches by 8.3 percent this year, well above the national average.
"While I have not seen this as a problem in my district, it is entirely possible that the (summer feeding) program is designed to address problems that exist in other parts of Missouri," Ms. Davis says in her newsletter.
"The right way to solve this is with more education. If parents ... don't know how to serve nutritious meals, let's help them learn to do that."
In that spirit, she offers some helpful hints:
"Families may economize by choosing not to waste hard earned dollars on potato chips, ice cream or Twinkies."
"Laid-off parents could adapt by preparing more home cooked meals rather than going out to eat."
If you work for McDonald's, they will feed you for free during your break."