USDA Lunch Program Has Drawbacks on Campus

Campolindo’s free lunch program helps students who don’t bring lunch to school to get food throughout the day. This program started as a response to the pandemic and parents losing their jobs, but the USDA has now taken away the eligibility requirements and are allowing all kids to eat for free.While the need is clearly justified, it has also brought up other problems at Campolindo that need to be addressed.

1st off, the lines for lunch continue to stay long and those kids who don’t get out early or don’t have a class near the lunch line have a hard time getting food. If they do make it in time, they often have to spend half of the lunch period waiting for food when they could be talking to friends or doing other activities.

2nd, after the hot lunch food started being offered for free, the quality of the food has arguably gone down. If Campo wants to continue to promote a healthy community, students should be fueled with better options that are not only healthier, but taste good.

Finally, the money that they are using to pay for food could be used to fund other things to improve the school or could be given to communities who need it more. Feeding all the schools in California costs $262 billion, and hot lunch is generally a convenience for students in Moraga and other wealthier areas. These funds could be used for other more helpful things that are needed around campus to create a better learning environment.

Freshman Edgar Alford said, “In middle school hot lunch was much better for people that were worried about eating healthy, they were able to choose healthy lunches instead of getting unhealthy processed foods… Although lunch may have [cost] money to have it, in the end it was a much better decision.”

Despite this, paying for lunch will allow kids to get their lunches much faster and easier because there won’t be huge crowds running in because they will be able to afford more food. The food will also be higher quality and healthier for the kids promoting this healthier community they are going for. Also, like the elementary and middle schools in Moraga are doing, the money raised can be used to fund sports, clubs, better food and classrooms, school supplies and more.

However, it’s important to note that if the state starts making students pay for lunch again, it could bring up problems in that some kids and their families can’t afford lunch each day.