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Jim Bartos, Brooklyn Park
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I’m proud to report that in Bloomington we “always provide a full menu-of-the-day hot lunch” to our students, even if the child is unable to pay. Many groups work together to make that possible, including the Education Foundation of Bloomington (EFB), a nonprofit organization. The EFB has a vital program, Children’s Food for Thought, that partners with the Bloomington public schools and families to help provide those meals. Bloomington parent Ann Tillotson founded this program informally in 2004-05 when she learned that (besides the students who qualified for the federal free/reduced lunch program) a significant number of students in her son’s school couldn’t pay for their hot lunches. Ann and the CFT program became part of the EFB in 2006.
Money comes from individuals, organizations, the faith community and corporate donations (the Mosaic Co., in particular, provides a generous grant) to allow the CFT program to meet the ever increasing demand for student meals. For some, it may be the only meal they get all day.
Mary K. Udseth; president, Education Foundation of Bloomington
It hurts to see it likened to an illness like mine
I have Stage 4 inoperable lung cancer, am in my mid-40s, have never smoked and have no risk factors. I have a beautiful wife and 4-year-old daughter I love dearly, and it saddened me to be told when I was diagnosed that I have a 1 percent chance to see my daughter’s 8th birthday. I underwent six courses of the hardest chemotherapy one can undergo, and I still go for maintenance treatment every week. I changed my diet and keep a strict regimen of exercise that has given my body the best possible chance to fight this illness. I want to grow old with my wife and walk my daughter down the aisle someday. Those dreams are what sustain me. It is a daily fight. And I am beating the odds so far.
To compare what I am going through to someone who shoots heroin in their veins is not right (“Let’s treat addiction as the illness it is,” Feb. 12). I didn’t do something to myself to cause this, and if all I had to do to beat this illness was to not inject myself with something, I would do it and be thrilled beyond measure. I can understand how hard addiction must be, but addicts are not innocent victims. Be thankful for every day you’ve been given.
Mike Hendel, Coon Rapids
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.