Free Meals for all

The school provides every student, regardless of financial status, with free breakfast and lunch

Cafeteria staff members Lori Thompson and Denise Barbour preparing turkey wraps entrees. The wraps included turkey, lettuce, and shredded cheese. That day students got the turkey wrap along with a bag of chips, fruits and vegetables varying from student to student, bagels studded with cream cheese, and juice.

Nour Longi, Editor in Chief

The school is now offering free lunch and breakfast for all students, regardless of their financial level. The program started on Monday, September 28, and will continue until December 31, 2020. 

After school each day, students can pick up their meals at any exit. Even students who are attending school remotely that day or are attending fully remote can pick up meals at the main entrance on Porter Street from 1:15 to 2:30. The meals include an entree, a side, fruits and vegetables, juice and one breakfast item packaged in a small plastic bag. 

Under new covid-19 regulation, the federal government provided the school with pandemic funds. In order to turn these funds into the meal service, the school had to get approval from USDA and the Board of Education.  

Tina Mehta, the director of cafeteria services, explained that the goal of the program is to not only bestow students with the nutrition they need to succeed in school but to alleviate one of the responsibilities parents are juggling amidst the Covid-19 outbreak. In addition to this, the program is also employing the school’s cafeteria staff. 

“When both parents are working, it helps to know that my children are eating at home when we are not there,” Tammy Michaelson, a parent of two students, said, “I think the program could really help struggling parents and gets rid of the stigma surrounding free lunches because all students are provided with one.”

During each school day, the cafeteria staff of ten prepare and package around 600 meals for each student to leave with. 

The process to pick up a meal is intended to be a shortstop before leaving school, in order to get students out of the building as quickly as possible. Because of the rapid pick up and the sheer volume of the lunches, the cafeteria staff is unable to fulfill specific nutritional accommodations for students, such as allergies or dietary restrictions.  However, all students are encouraged to take a meal each day because some meals may happen to accommodate for their restrictions; if students are unable to consume the entree, the sides may also fit their dietary needs. 

“If you are vegetarian just let me know, and I can provide you with an entree that fits your needs, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich” said Metha.

The school is also doing home deliveries of weekly packaged meals to students on the national school lunch program. 

Mehta emphasized that this program is truly for the students, and would love to hear feedback on the meals. For more information or questions, you can contact Tina Mehta at [email protected]

Cafeteria staff members Lori Thompson and Denise Barbour preparing turkey wraps entrees. The wraps included turkey, lettuce, and shredded cheese. That day students got the turkey wrap along with a bag of chips, fruits and vegetables varying from student to student, bagels studded with cream cheese, and juice.
(Nour Longi)
Senior Belle Petkus picking up her meal that consisted of bosco sticks, a pear, a pickle, and fruit punch. Petkus said, “I think the lunch program is pretty good considering the circumstances. It’s really nice that they (the cafeteria staff) are putting all of this together for the students.”
(Nour Longi)