In response to Amy Orr’s piece regarding the lunch programs and the hard work behind them—I have an idea and also some perspective from a mom whose son would rather stick needles in his eyes than buy lunch at school.
First off, school lunch was and still is a great thing to offer to children in elementary school. Thanks to the school district for being aware of balanced diets, removing soda, buying the freshest and most organic food, and for thinking of creative recipes to make the food appetizing and so convenient for working parents.
But when these kids get to middle school, things start to change. The girls stop eating because they are more aware of their bodies and the boys are feeling too cool to eat (if their friends don’t buy lunch or even eat their pre-made mom lunch, they won’t either), and lunch time suddenly becomes social time. I pulled away some books in my son’s room last year and found a “sack lunch graveyard.” He never even opened the lunches that I packed for him for 30 days! I did not open them—they went straight to the garbage. No wonder he is famished when he comes home from school. The kids stop eating at school once they get to Thurston.
And high school? Forget it. They go off-campus, and some eat and some don’t, but I think that a food court idea might be an option—Z Pizza, Shirley’s Bagels, La Sirena, Wahoo’s. A limited menu for each of course to simplify the choices. They go to these places anyway and if LBUSD could partner up with these eateries, it would be good marketing for them, and the high school food service staff wouldn’t be knocking themselves out every day and throwing away food that is left unpurchased. It’s an airport fast food strategy, but it’s not junk food and who knows, it might be cool to buy lunch at school again.
Jeannie Richardson, Laguna Beach