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The Truth Behind Cafeteria Food “Shortages”

April 21, 2022

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Chicken sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and yogurt parfaits are among the most popular choices in the FCHS cafeteria. Yet with the lunch period split into four sections, distributing food to up to almost 1,500 students equally throughout each scheduled lunch is a difficult task, particularly when factors like attendance and the popularity of items can vary widely from day to day.

Although the cafeteria starts with the same amount of options during each of the four lunches each day, students–particularly those during C and D lunches–often complain that the cafeteria has “run out of food.” According to a recent investigation by Fluco Journalism, however, the reality is far more complicated than it at first appears.

Some students, particularly if they aren’t aware of the factors which affect the food supply, get upset when they don’t get their first choices for food. One such student is junior Rand Al-safi. “I am super hungry and I wonder why they don’t make enough food for the whole student body so that students like me don’t continue the school day without the proper nutrition in order to excel in my studies,” she said. At times like this, the student perspective is that the cafeteria “runs out of food.”

But in reality, according to FCHS Food Service Manager Sheri Casero, the cafeteria always has food to serve to every student. It just might not be what they necessarily want. For example, a student who always chooses the vegetarian option may find that the only choice left to them by the time they get through the line is a hamburger.

One potential and surprising cause for this problem is that students who attend the earlier lunches often return to the lunch line multiple times during their scheduled lunch period to receive more food. Junior Alijah Anderson, who attends C lunch, says “it is not fair to the students who have the last two lunches, because when other people get two lunches they take a lunch away from me. They are greedy and shouldn’t take lunch from other people.” With food still being offered for free

Recently, the cafeteria workers have posted signs that say “Only one lunch per person” in order to help put an end to this problem. This may be helping, yet some students still notice a shortage of food. “I wish there was more that the cafeteria workers could do to make sure there is enough food, because the signs do not seem to be working,” said senior Allyson Lounsbury.

Behind the scenes, Casero works hard to do her best to ensure that every student gets lunch. “We work by counts, so everything is by numbers. When people get two lunches and we do not notice, then our counts end up being off. But we do our best to make sure everyone gets what they want or need,” stated Casero. Casero explains that they try to catch students receiving a second lunch by asking them if they have been in before they day. Students are often dishonest, and end up receiving a second lunch.

Casero also mentioned that it is harder for the cafeteria to obtain certain products due to COVID-19, but encourages students to let them know what they want to eat, and that they want to make sure that they are providing students with meals they want to eat.

Recently, a survey was sent out to students to ask what type of food items they would like to see offered at lunch. If you did not already take that survey, you can do so at this link.
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdJ6lpcq_H43QZwt5RWBTpIzaC1tBHiu2A68Odse1cR-BJvRA/viewform?usp=sf_link

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About the Contributor
Photo of Bethany Cheripka
Bethany Cheripka, FCHS Journalist

Bethany is a junior in her second year of journalism and is editor of The Fluco Beat. She enjoys painting and spending time with friends. She has a border...

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