Lunch Ladies put a Possible Stop to Food Waste with a Free Food Pantry


Ashley Coleman

LUNCH LADIES PUT A POSSIBLE STOP TO FOOD WASTE WITH A FREE FOOD PANTRY — Ashauna Parrish places an unopened food item in the designated cooler for another student to enjoy.

Ashley Coleman, Staff Writer

School breakfast and lunch are viewed as an integral part of the school day by many students; however, several dismiss them as an essential time of the day because they tend to go hungry. Central’s cafeteria staff took notice and decided to install an unused food pantry. It is easily accessible to all students and will help reduce the levels of students who get hungry throughout the day.

The food pantry was established a month ago. Initially, it went unnoticed; not many people saw it as an outlet for extra food. Recently, however, they have had a booming system, especially during breakfast where a surplus of juices and Pop Tarts are picked up. During lunch, use of the food pantry is moderate, as the majority of students pick up a meal in the lunch line and tend to forget about the pantry.

“It is such a help for people who may not have the money or [are] just not full enough,” said Cafeteria Manager Jennifer McNabb.

According to National Farm to School Network, public schools produce 1.9% of food waste in the country, which eventually leads to 36.5 pounds of food per student every year. Schools waste mass amounts of food every day, and many students come to school on an empty stomach. Therefore, the school staff has decided to permanently leave the pantry in the cafeteria, seeing as it has many benefits.

The signs near the free food pantry read: “Give a little, take a little. This cooler is for you to put unopened items in that you don’t want from your lunch. It has to be a sealed item. Please take what you need or want.”

“Yes [the food pantry is a great idea]! It would help a lot of people, and everyone’s wellbeing matters,” said Senior Jaime Sauseda.

“With this, students will be more focused on school than their hunger,” stated Isaac Jackson.

McNabb is very passionate about this and would like for more students to know about it. She wants to spread the word to better benefit Central students. Usage of the pantry is as simple as passing by the line during breakfast or lunch to drop off, or pick up,  a snack, free of charge.