Ongoing Lunch Controversy Serves Up Student Opinions

Food shortage in third lunch creates chaos for students and the kitchen

IZZY PAGGIOLI

ELHS currently operates in three lunch waves. The amount of food dwindles after the second wave, resulting in a struggle for last wave students to receive lunch.

While students are convinced that third lunch has substantially less food than first lunch, according to Food Services Director Chris Urban, this is not the case.

“Whether it’s pizza or chicken patties, Karla [the head chef] makes the same amount of food for every lunch wave. It seems like there is less stuff, but each wave is getting equal amounts of food,” Mr. Urban said.

The kitchen runs out of meals on a daily basis, making this the norm for lunch lines.

Currently, the kitchen staff is working with administrators to prevent students from taking more than one lunch.

“Unfortunately, we have multiple lunch lines, so there is a chance where kids could be dishonest and go into multiple lines. It’s on an honor system,” Mr. Urban said.

However, sophomore Grace Xu understands why students “double dip” in the lunch line. She sees a noticeable difference in food amounts between lunch two and three.

“There is not enough food for lunch. They do not provide large enough portions. Most students here are athletes, and we need to eat a lot more than what they give out. I get that I’m in lunch three and have to suffer the consequences of students taking double lunches, but I understand them,” said Xu.

As food services director for the whole district, Mr. Urban holds the responsibility of providing adequate food to students. Due to COVID-19, the United States Department of Agriculture is providing free meals to students so that they are “financially and food secure,” Mr. Urban said.

He also explained that there is a supply chain shortage, which makes it harder for the lunch staff to keep a diverse selection within meals. This issue stems from the pandemic and labor shortages.

ELHS has experienced weeks without food deliveries but tries to keep a variety of food products open to students.

“We are trying to keep as much variety [in food choices] as we can right now; especially at the high school level because you guys have a more diverse palette,” Mr. Urban said.

Sophomore Hannah Socha has experienced lunch with no food left in it.

“I witnessed people take more than one lunch but I understand. I know a lot of athletes that specifically do it. As an athlete myself, I could never live with myself taking two. I’d feel bad because I know how it feels when there is nothing left over,” Socha said. “I’ve been to lunch when there’s nothing left because people take more than one meal.”

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