School Lunch Raises Varied Opinions


by Sean Levonaitis

Arlene Kubek, a long time lunch lady at Hillsborough high school, stands by the free lunches she prepared one day after school.

Sean Levonaitis, News editor

When COVID-19 struck the United States, numerous changes had to be made to everybody’s schedule including schools. In schools, masks have to be worn and some schools even shortened their days to half days to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. Due to these precautions, school lunches are not served to the students. Instead, the students have the option to a free lunch pickup right as school ends to take home and eat.

The Seamless Summer Option program (SSO) lets families pick up free food from their local school district, even if they do not qualify for free and ­reduced-price meals. The U.S. Agriculture Department extended the program until Dec. 31, past its normal end date due to the coronavirus.

“Each district is different and can approach this in a way that best meets their district needs,” the New Jersey Department of Agriculture’s spokesman said in an email. Hillsborough schools decided to hand out school lunches to meet the needs of the students.

Hillsborough High School has been giving out lunches at 12:00 p.m. after every day in school at multiple exits at the school. Each bag contains different food goods like apples, muffins, pizza, different type of sandwiches, juice boxes and even chocolate milk. The school lunches have a mystery effect because each student receives a different bag, some only containing certain foods.

Hillsborough High School students talk about these lunches more often than one would think.

“The school lunches really hit the spot after being in school for hours and not being able to eat,” Andrew Santabarbara said. “Although the food does not all taste that good, being in schools for hours and starving, anything really hits the spot at that point.”

Although some might disagree to the quality of the food, some students need the food due to parents still being at work and not having any food located in their house. It puts less stress and worries on the students’ shoulders because they do not have to worry and take time to make food at home.

“Being the lazy person I am, I know a long day after school the last thing I want to do is spend ten to fifteen minutes making a little snack that would just add to my stress and frustration,” junior, Tyler Michinard said. “Free lunch is better than no lunch.”