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The D Lunch Dilemma

September 15, 2021

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In a world full of uncertainty, food seems to be remain one comfort people can enjoy. But when there’s none left, what do they turn to?

Students assigned “D” lunch this semester have been noticing what some think is peculiar: There’s have been shortages in the amount of food left when it’s their time to eat. 

Contrary to years before, this year’s lunches only offer one choice instead of the usual three entrees. Could this be caused by supply shortages due to COVID-19? Or because it’s hard to estimate the proper amount of food needed with so many students are packing lunches?

Compared to the usual main food item, such as a chicken sandwich or a slice of pizza, and a side like French Fries paired with a fruit, vegetable and milk, today’s trays appear more bare, with only single entree, a side and the fruits and veggies required by law. Although the lunches may be healthy and provide required nutrition, many students think what is included in the lunches is not filling to fuel a growing teenage body.

“It’s ridiculous that there’s no food left for kids who don’t pack lunch every day,” said Junior Braelyn Via. She is one of many students taking advantage of the free lunches provided by the schools this year and last in order to help those affected economically by the pandemic. According to Edsource.org, The U.S. Department of Agriculture is “reimbursing schools and childcare centers for free meals to all students regardless of their income through the 2021-22 school year.”

“I think having our lunch is very hard because we don’t eat until almost 2 pm. We only get 20 minutes to eat, and then by the time we get there, there’s no food left,” said Via. 

She believes that having fewer lunches with longer time could be a good solution for this problem. “I don’t think it’s necessarily the [cafeteria staff’s] fault. I just think they underestimate the amount of students that are purchasing lunch now that it’s free,” Via said.

When asked whether or not the cafeteria staff sees any change in this issue, FCHS Food Service Manager Sheri Casero said she would like any student to look inside the kitchen to see what happens. “Myself and my staff work so hard to serve all students in high school what they want,” said Casero. She also noted that “We prepare lunch and set up the lines to make it easier on you all.” While the food may not be in abundance, it still provides what some see as a healthy and tasteful lunch to students who choose to take advantage of the free lunches.

Meanwhile, Junior Shelby Crawford has a different idea of “D” lunch. “I don’t mind having the last lunch. My teachers let me eat in class, and I pack lunch so I can eat whatever I want and not depend on the school to feed me,” she said. Crawford, much like Via, believes the school could be better prepared. “I think the cafeteria staff is doing their best during these crazy times and are putting our best interest at heart,” said Crawford.

Even though some of Crawford’s teachers are lenient with the mask mandate throughout the school, many teachers are staying grounded on the ‘mask up at all times’ rule. “Some of my teachers do not allow me to eat or take a water break, which I could see being hard for some students who don’t have any food until 2 pm,” Crawford said. 

Is this issue going to be resolved in the near future? It’s hard to say, being that the number of students who would receive lunch daily is hard to estimate. As a result of this issue, many students are deciding to pack lunches of pre-packaged items from home. 

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