LOHS reintroduces paid lunches

Kai Donohue and Isaiah Morris

Volume 71, Issue 1

October 3, 2o22

With the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, the Lake Oswego School District has been met with many changes and reintroductions of a few discontinued practices, one of the more controversial changes being the reintroduction of paid school lunches.

Junior Zachary Hayes said, “The quality of the food hasn’t really improved and if I could say anything, it’s gotten almost worse.” 

Junior Mason Men also put emphasis on the health aspect of school-provided lunches, saying, “The hot lunch is really bad. In most of the main meals there are no vegetables or anything really nutritious, it’s usually just fried stuff.”

Junior Orion Hoch presented a different perspective, saying, “I am very tired in the morning, so I don’t really like to pack my own lunch. I see hot lunch as the only way I can actually keep a good balance with sleep and eating good food.”

While some may view this change as sudden, lunch payment has always been the norm prior to the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic was the primary reason as to why lunches were free, along with the general shutdown of schools in March 2020. When it became apparent that many families of students were being hit hard financially, Congress authorized and supplied schools with meal waivers, granting the district funds for free lunches. The reintroduction of paid lunches isn’t a change, but one step closer to what LOHS used to be before COVID-19. 

“The main factors were food costs, paper costs, chemical costs; everything went up. Even getting normal standard deliveries from our vendors, a lot of our vendors started adding delivery charges and trip fees mainly due to the cost of gas going up,” said Director of Food Service Cristobal Castro. “We’re also adding a lot more higher end quality items, so we’re trying to improve the standard of the food as well.”

Though school-provided lunches do cost money this year, students whose families are struggling financially can still receive accommodations. LOHS follows the USDA’s National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, allowing for free and reduced meal applications for families who qualify. To apply for these services, student’s families can find more information on the LOHS website in the Nutritions Services section.

“It’s a process they go through with the district. I don’t think enough students know it’s out there and that their family’s know that it’s out there. I think a lot of families qualify for it, and just don’t go through the steps”, said School Counselor Adam Johnson.