News Byte: School district provides free breakfasts and lunches for students

By ordering and packaging food, cafeteria staff in the district are putting together free meals for students. Anyone can order these meals to ensure that anyone who is in need of one has access to them.


Pizza Power…Getting lunch in the cafeteria, junior Megan McCollum enjoys the district free lunches. The district started this program over the summer.

In an effort to provide free meals to students who would need one, cafeteria staff throughout the district are taking orders and mass packaging free breakfasts and lunches for any students who ask for them.
According to the Cafeteria Department Head Pam Forester,
“We package both breakfasts and lunches for the kids, and it’s a lot of work.” Forester said.
Once the orders for meals are placed, the staff creates an assembly line to package everything, according to Forester.
There are many steps that go into making the meals available for students.
“We store the frozen things in the freezer and cold things (like the produce) in the refrigerator,” Forester said. “Once it’s time for the meals to be packed, we put the food and cooking instructions into the bag,”
According to cafeteria worker Lisa Gentile, there can be as many as 60-65 orders a day.
“I always write them down on a chart so that it’s easier to keep track of all the numbers,” Gentile said.
Once packaged, the meals are put into boxes and wait on the shelves until they’re ready to be picked up.
From Forester’s perspective, the biggest challenge for this year is making sure that there’s enough meals for everyone, Forester said. “We don’t know how many students we’re feeding every day, and that’s on top of the meals we package for the online students,” Forester said.
a result of all the work that needs to be done in the cafeteria this year, staff comes in early and goes home late, according to Gentile.
“Some of us come in at 8 in the morning, and sometimes don’t leave until 7 p.m.” Gentile said.
The free meals have been going on since summer. They go home with students during the week, and on weekends.
Some think that continuing the free meals is helpful for the school community, and should be continued if financially feasible.
“If we are able to, financially, and all, we should continue to do this,” Gentile said. “We make a lot, and there’s definitely a lot of people who benefit from it.”