By Cathy Asapahu - The Oarsman Venice High School Los Angeles, CA | http://bit.ly/bt2T7I
10/28/2010 5:56:54 PM - Recently, Venice High students have been complaining that the student cafeteria has not been providing enough food for students during lunchtime. Students have reported the cafeteria running out of food five minutes after the lunch bell rings.
The recent budget cuts have affected the school cafeteria also this year. Due to layoffs, the cafeteria has been short-staffed this year. The staff has also been working overtime to make up for the extra furlough days this year.
The cafeteria has been failing to distribute enough main courses to all students during lunchtime. To make up for the lack of food, the cafeteria gives out Smucker’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches instead. Although the sandwiches meet the nutritional standards required by the school district, some students find that these sandwiches do not satisfy their appetite.
At Venice, 1,406 students receive lunch under the National School Lunch Program, according to cafeteria manager Mr. Marcelino Mejia, who has been working at Venice for over eight years. Some students who eat lunch in the cafeteria ask to leave their 5th period classes early to ensure that they receive a lunch before students are released and food runs out.
Senior Oswaldo Hernandez, who uses meal tickets to buy food from the cafeteria almost every day, says that he has received peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at least three to five times in the past five weeks. He also said that they often did not satisfy his appetite and some of these sandwiches have been served completely frozen
Mr. Mejia explained that because students haven’t been eating lunch or breakfast regularly each week, it has been difficult for the cafeteria to get an estimate of how many meals to order. For instance, in the first week of the academic year, about 300 students were buying breakfast from the cafeteria. However, after the first week, the number of students ordering breakfast was increasing in increments of about 100 students per week. Mr. Mejia also believes that many students are eating in the cafeteria without having turned in a meal ticket application, which is compounding the problem because the amount of meals prepared is partly determined by the number of meal applications the cafeteria receives. Mr. Mejia assured students that meal shortages would not last very long and that he was addressing the problem.
“Things are getting better,” Mr. Mejia said. “For example, today I went outside and saw that 20 more meals need to be prepped.”
More information on the Los Angeles Unified School District Food Services Division can be found online at cafe-la.lausd.net.