Schools in Umatilla are encouraging all students to take advantage of free lunch funded by the federal government. Jefferson Elementary in Richland does the same thing... and there are probably several others in the Mid Columbia. What do you think of our taxes paying for lunch when many of the parents can afford it just fine?

When I was little my mom needed the "free lunch" program because she didn't have a lot of money. But they always had us on the program go first, singling us out and making us feel weird and second class. I applaud changes that make sure kids get the nutrition they need regardless of home economics and without making them feel different.

Umatilla says the program is criticized as "middle class welfare." A coworker whose son attends Jefferson Elementary says he feels that way. But the schools say average home incomes have to be pretty low to qualify for the program. That means many families that can afford lunch are still struggling financially. Also, schools say the food they serve is more healthy than what they see parents send with kids.

Middle class welfare or a move toward greater public health?