Hot Lunch at Community High School

As Community High School has become more and more popular as a school, it has to start giving more options to support the needs of more people applying. Community has provided in school cold lunches for two years, but on Tuesday Feb. 12  the choice to buy a hot lunch became available. “It’s a big deal because I think that our school is just as good as any other high schools here,” said Lanette Reid, who serves and sets up the lunches. Before hot and cold lunches were an option, students who couldn’t afford lunch would get their lunch out of a refrigerator in the office.

As well as giving Community students yet another choice of what to eat at lunch, the hot lunch offers other benefits too. “I don’t think that kids should always have to spend money at Kerrytown, not everyone’s got money to spend at Kerrytown every day,” said Reid. By having the hot lunch, students can buy a lunch for around $4.00, which is a cheaper replacement to many of the meals at Kerrytown. Located in Room 108 on the first floor, the hot lunch is also a closer alternative if students don’t feel like walking or if the weather is looking especially bad.

Although setting up is more work for Reid, she believes that making the jump to hot lunches was the right choice. “We have some options, so if you want to stay in and have lunch you could do it. You guys should have what everybody else gets, we’re a high school too,” said Reid.

Dean Jennifer Hein has been trying to obtain a hot lunch program for about two and a half years. Her expectations are high for the new program. “I think it will be very successful, particularly for convenience, nutrition, and our incoming freshman class, who primarily are used to using the point of sales system at their middle school, where you type in your six digit lunch number, and your family may be pre-loading money onto your lunch card,” said Hein.

Students with financial problems have the option of free or reduced school lunches, which are now easily provided through the new hot lunch program. “In these really challenging financial times, with families having fewer resources available, I want to make sure that the students at Community High School are going into classes and having the opportunity to get what kids at other schools are getting… It also provides an opportunity for our students that don’t have the resources to purchase lunch outside of school to be able to do it in a cost effective way here,” said Hein

Before the option to buy hot lunches arose, students with the free or reduced lunch option had an independant lunch program where they would pick up their lunches from the main office. “I do not like the idea of kids having a separate lunch system because they don’t have the resources to afford the lunch that everyone else has. I think to ask kids to come in and get their lunch out of a refrigerator, when no one else has to do that, is an issue with equity,” said Hein.

Hein believes that the new hot lunch system will be worth the time spent working towards it and will be beneficial for many of the students at Community. Hein said “the hot lunches are good and kids should really try them… We have been working on this project for two and a half years and it’s finally happened and I’m really excited about that. I’m excited about the partnership and the willingness to work with us from Chartwells, which is the company that directs the food service, and the support from the facilities office and the central office to make this happen and to realize and to prioritize that kids being able to have a good lunch is important for kids learning.”