Free Lunch Forever?

Free Lunch Forever?

Lily Ramsdell, Journalist

Have you ever forgotten your lunch money? Well, this year you do not have to worry about bringing money for lunch. COVID-19 has made many people’s lives hard, and giving free lunch makes it one less thing for people to worry about. However, like Mr. Mitchell said, “There is no such thing as a free lunch. Someone has to pay for the lunch from somewhere.” 


Mr. Mitchell is correct in his claim. The US Department of Agriculture is one of many programs that have been “providing free school meals for all kids younger than 18 years during the entire 2020-2021 school year through June 20, 2021. (” At first, it was just for the start of the pandemic, but they extended this date to make parents’ lives easier. Another program is The National School Lunch Program (NSLP). The program “is a federally assisted meal program operating in nearly 95,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions. It provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to more than 26 million children each school day.” These are just a few of the programs that support the schools and students through the hard times. 


Tony is a lunch lady at Ipswich High school. She usually is one of the three lunch ladies serving the food. She thinks that free lunch “is great. It makes all the kids even. It does not give one kid more, and I think it is nice.”

Before COVID-19, some students were given free lunch or reduced lunch costs due to their financial needs, but now everyone gets free lunch. It gives everyone the same advantage. Some may wonder, how do they know how much to make? She says that they try to make as much as how many students are in the school and a bunch more just in case. The surprising thing is that they do not know how many kids are in the school this year, so they guess how much they should make. One thing that Tony was very passionate about was keeping free lunch forever. Mr. Mitchell agrees with her. He thinks that “if there is a way that the state or federal government can keep it going for the remainder of the school year, I think that that would be great.”


Students are the key people that make this whole thing possible. However, they do not know all the benefits. There is not just free lunch, but breakfast too. It says on the School Nutrition and Fitness Website that “Ipswich Food Service is offering free meals to anyone 18 and under through June 30, 2021. We will be distributing grab n go meals Monday, Wednesdays, and Fridays (Weekend Meals).” Many students, including Finn MacLennan, a Junior attending Ipswich High school, do not know about these benefits. He is one of many students that takes advantage of the free school lunch. He says that “I love free lunch.” 


How long the graciousness of free lunch will last is a question that everyone is wondering. Right now, there is no answer to that question, and national programs and local programs are only supporting families until the end of the school year. Hopefully, they will hear the pleas from the schools about how helpful free lunch was, and they will extend the date. Would it be possible to make lunch free forever?