Letters to the editor for the week of Mar. 31, 2023

Last week Steve Drazkowski, Minnesota Senator for District 20, voted against a bill providing free school breakfast and lunch for all students in Minnesota because, he said, “I have yet to meet a person in Minnesota that is hungry.”

My wife’s reaction was, “Just because he hasn’t met them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.”

When she taught at Winona Senior High, she was one of many teachers who had a supply of crackers and granola bars (paid for with their own money) to help hungry students get through the day. Since then, hunger has worsened; according to the Star Tribune, more Minnesotans visited food shelves in 2022 than in any other year in the state’s history. Now that Minnesota’s federal waiver temporarily allowing extra SNAP benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic has expired, even more families will struggle in 2023. Hunger exists, whether Steve Drazkowski knows it or not.

Drazkowski openly espouses his Catholic faith. Jesus says in Matthew 25:35-6, when asked how he will identify his true followers: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Jesus did not provide a standard for “hunger,” nor did he need to be told that hungry and homeless people existed.

Despite Drazkowski’s “No” vote, the DFL-led Legislature recently passed a universal school meals bill, which guarantees that no child who attends public school in Minnesota will go hungry. Gov. Tim Walz, surrounded by happy children, signed it. Breakfast and lunch are provided for all students, free of charge, no questions asked.

I think Jesus would approve.

Jim Armstrong

Winona

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