Tempe Schools, City Marketing Free Breakfast and Lunch, No Financial Need Required

The City of Tempe is advertising free breakfasts and lunches this summer for any students who would like, whether they are financially needy or not.

The program itself was born of the United States Department of Agriculture and administered by the State of Arizona.  Several local Tempe schools are serving the meals and the City of Tempe appears to run the marketing campaign.  That makes four levels of government who have their hands in the pot of money that we think should go to the needy but in reality is going to kids who have no need.

Here is the list of Tempe schools hosting the lunches:

It should be known that several of the schools listed are in very well-to-do neighborhoods. We acknowledge not every child in the area is well off, but it is questionable why our federal tax dollars are not designated to truly needy kids and families.  Here are a couple maps of some of the school sites in Tempe in their financially secure neighborhoods.


As it turns out, the federal government is using the excuse that kids need help eating healthy over the summer.  Their talking points aim at needy kids, but according to the grant application from the Dairy Council of Arizona, it looks like the goal is to sign as many schools and kids up as possible, needy or not.

Unfortunately, the State of Arizona didn’t get the memo about pushing the program in high-income areas—their website is telling taxpayers the program is for low income neighborhoods.

The bottom line is the more kids they feed, the more the program will be called a success and needy, and our taxes will continue to fund breakfasts and lunches for rich kids as well as poor.

They even have a thorough tool kit on the website to publicize the free lunches and talking points for the taxpayers and media.  It’s quite a set-up.

Back to the City of Tempe.  While the city looks to be a minor player in this game, the fact is they are a player.  Why didn’t the Feds go straight to the schools they already have a cozy relationship with due to the non-Constitutional Department of Education to administer these meals?  Why did the State of Arizona and the City of Tempe have to get involved? What are either gaining financially? More excuses to grow their governments?  Slush funds? Political power?

Tempe’s Public Information Officer was contacted to get some information.  It looks like Tempe is only helping with marketing, but she didn’t answer as to whether Tempe is receiving any federal dollars to cover the costs of our PIO and other marketing resources.


Of course, it would not be popular for any Tempe Council member or candidate to say no to the opportunity to be involved in feeding Tempe’s kids.  It’s a great campaign ploy—the candidates can pretend they care about kids and also stress how well the students will succeed when school starts because Tempe helped the USDA feed Tempe kids all summer. It also is a nice segue to Tempe’s new “free” nursery school program. Once again, Tempe is cradle to grave.  The June 14, 2017 Study Session has a whole segment on a K-12 pipeline and kindergarten readiness.  Tempe already has three school districts, is Tempe Council now a fourth school district?  The current Council appears to think none of us can do anything without their help, permission, and regulations.

Another thought: Could this cozy relationship that is developing between the City of Tempe and education be an opportunity for one of the Council members to make the right connections while seeking a higher political office in the education field?

How did our parents figure out how to feed us before the Tempe/TempeElementarySchools/Arizona/USDA free lunch program was initiated?

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3 Responses to Tempe Schools, City Marketing Free Breakfast and Lunch, No Financial Need Required

  1. Howard Roark July 2, 2017 at 1:38 pm #

    Are they keeping data? At the end of the summer I’d love to add up the total cost to taxpayers of this program and divide it by the total number of meals served. This would give us the average cost per meal.

    With all the faceless bureaucrats involved, how much do you think those meals cost?

    Maybe a better idea would just be to hand out the cash so people can buy their own food. I get the feeling that Safeway is probably more efficient at distributing food than our friends at the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Peoples Republic of Tempe.

    • Peggy McClain July 2, 2017 at 9:09 pm #

      Great questions. We will be looking into this more. We have contacted some members of Congress but so far no responses. We will definitely be writing follow-ups as we gather information, so stay tuned. Please let us know if you hear any information.

      And thanks for reading!

    • Peggy McClain August 6, 2017 at 10:59 pm #

      One of our readers visited one of the free lunch sites. The resident saw many nice cars in the parking lot.

      We would love to do more research into the costs of this program. We have contacted two supposedly fiscal Arizona Congressman and I know this will shock you, but they haven’t gotten back to us.

      Would you like to help us with our efforts? More hands on deck are always welcome!

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