Students enjoy the new free lunch program

Mariam Jabri

Since the pandemic struck, the USDA eased restrictions so schools could serve meals to all students free of charge. Now, free breakfast and lunch are provided to all students during in-person learning at every school for the entire 2021-2022 school year. Students only have to pay if they’re hungry for a second lunch or extra entree, which isn’t included in the program. 

So far, the program has had a positive impact on students here at EPHS. 

Freshman Gianna Peña noted how it has helped her family with payments, especially since she has three siblings. “It’s had a positive impact on my family because it helps not having to worry about the lunch things.” 

Junior Ash Mohamed benefits from the free lunch program. “It’s gotten me free food so then I don’t have to pay for it and bring a home lunch,” Mohamed said. 

Nora Jacobs, a junior, feels the same. “It’s certainly made a positive impact on my parents because they don’t have to waste money on my school lunch.” But for her personally, there’s not much of a difference and it hasn’t been that impactful. 

Freshman Deven Macken would usually bring a home lunch, so the program does not personally affect her either. “I think it’s kind of been indifferent for me.” However, she has started bringing less lunch from home now that it’s free. 

Macken is not the only student changing her lunch routine this year. Freshman Ena Watson tended to bring school lunch just like Macken, but less now thanks to the free lunch program. “Sometimes I do get school lunch because my parents are like, don’t worry about making a home lunch because you can literally just get free lunch,” Watson said.

Overall, the students think the free lunch program has been a good thing for them here at EPHS. “I think it’s great, especially for students who can’t afford to get lunch at home or breakfast at home,” says Watson. 

Other students feel the same. “On god, the food is smack. That’s all I have to say,” Peña said.