Buying Food from the Cafe

Finn MacLennan and Dexter Cayer, Author

School lunch is an essential part of every school. The large amount of food served at Ipswich High School provides every student with a meal for breakfast and for lunch. It is well known that our lunch ladies are a huge help to our day. What people may not realize is that the cafeteria is a business that is separate from the school. This means that the state does not directly fund the payroll and inner workings of the cafe, only the meals they distribute. The way that the cafeteria makes a big portion of its money is by students buying the other food that is offered besides the government funded lunches. Although you can buy these items at lunch, they are available for sale throughout the entire school day.


Lately, with everything going on with COVID, there has been a question of whether or not students should be allowed to go down to the cafeteria at any point of the day to buy the assortment of food being offered. Toni Kmiec, one of the lunch ladies here at IHS, says, “We love it when students come down to get food. It is one of the main ways we make our money.” This helps pay for stuff such as additional food options,  the custodians to help clean the cafe after lunches, and  any upgrades that are necessary for the cafeteria. It is a very important part of how they make a profit off of selling kids the food they buy, and selling kids a second lunch if they want it. The money is all put into a centralized account that helps pay for everything besides the funded lunches, that the government reimburses the cafeteria for.


The issue with kids going down to the cafeteria is that it can become excessive at points. If kids are buying too much food at once, and if it becomes a distraction to kids in the classroom, it can be problematic. One specific instance involved a student to go down and buy a large amount of tacos. When we asked the student how much food he bought, he responded with, “We bought twenty things of tacos.” The cafeteria having to supply food to anyone that wants it makes giving a lot of food to one student problematic, even if they are paying for the food they are getting.  As long as there are limits to how much one person can buy, there seems to be no issue with food being bought at all times of the day. 


It is very important for us to be able to go down to the cafeteria and buy food and beverages at all points of the day, as long as we are not disrupting class time or buying too much when we go. When we make purchases, we help support our lunch staff by giving them more money that goes directly towards our cafeteria.