There is no question the United States is by far the most generous nation in the world. In fact, no other country even comes close to the generosity in funds and manpower provided to other nations by the U.S.A. You would think this generosity would somehow translate into more support and respect for our nation. But, sadly, it does not.
We Americans don't have a clue just how generous we really are. Sure, we know when there is a crisis somewhere on the other side of the world, America is expected to provide financial aid and resources. We've come to expect this role as the "provider" for those in need. But when it comes down to actual numbers, I strongly suspect we have not an inkling of just how much we actually provide.
For example, our federal government has a school lunch program that provides $300 million annually to pay for free school lunch for poor, hungry children. That funding is part of the massive Department of Agriculture budget.
If you think this program is part of the school lunch program here in America, you're wrong. This $300 million annual outlay pays for school lunches in Kenya, Malawi, Guatemala, Cambodia and Pakistan. Bet you didn't know that.
Since 2000, the Department of Agriculture has provided 3 million daily meals for school children in these impoverished countries. Some supporters of the program want to expand the project to include 10 million children daily. They say there are an estimated 110 million hungry children who need our financial aid each day.
Other countries chip in as well but the bulk of the school lunch funding comes from your pocketbook.
Now it's hard to argue with a program that feeds hungry children - even those outside of the United States. Maybe we have a moral responsibility. I can't argue with that.
But what troubles me is that we Americans don't take the time or effort to fully realize how our tax dollars are being spent. We look at the obvious big-
ticket items in our budget that directly impact our daily lives. But, obviously, there is much, much more to spending the billions of dollars that come out of our paychecks every week.
You know how much the oil-rich countries in the Mideast give to help feed needy children elsewhere? Not one dime! Yet we Americans have to fight a battle each day to protect our reputation around the world. Why don't we get the credit and support from those we help?
One final word: It's the right thing to do to help feed children worldwide who have no other options. It's also the right thing to expect some level of gratitude for those efforts. Without that gratitude and recognition, we might just be feeding the terrorists of tomorrow. How's that for a thank you!