The Student News Site of Wachusett Regional High School

Wachusett Echo

The Student News Site of Wachusett Regional High School

Wachusett Echo

The Student News Site of Wachusett Regional High School

Wachusett Echo

Wachusett takes on free lunch forever

Wachusett+takes+on+free+lunch+forever
Carlos Chancay

In the past, parents had to deposit money into their childrens’ lunch accounts and complete complex reduced lunch forms in order for students to have access to free lunch. But this year, none of those measures are needed thanks to statewide free lunches.
On August 10, 2023 Governor Maura Healey announced the new state fiscal budget includes a permanent provision for all public school students in Massachusetts to be provided with free school lunch.
Some Wachusett students shared their opinions on the new budget.
“I agree with the state’s policy for free lunch. Families in a tight situation can benefit freely from free lunches in school,” said junior Spencer Wilcomb.
Junior Beckham Rouleau agreed.
“The state’s policy to provide free food for public school students is a great idea, especially for undeveloped areas in Massachusetts,” said Rouleau. “Students don’t need to pay a 3 to 5 dollar fee now.”
After this decision, Massachusetts has joined a myriad of other states, including Maine, Vermont, California, Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, and Michigan in the movement to provide free lunch in public schools.
“In the future, I hope other states decide to give free school lunches to students,” said Assistant Principal Becki DeMarco. “But it depends on the state’s funding.”
During the pandemic in 2020, WRSD first provided pre-cooked meals for families. The district independently decided to continue providing free lunches in the years since the pandemic.
“I believe that it [free lunches] is a great idea,” said history teacher Tess Hickey. “It makes it easier for families.”
The Regional also provides free breakfasts, such as donuts, cinnamon rolls, and muffins.
“The donuts are very moist and good to have in the morning,” said sophomore Hannah Young.
The Regional’s “full lunch” policy requires each meal to include a drink and a fruit, or else the student pays full price.
“The full lunch policy is fair. It motivates students to get a full and healthy lunch,” said Wilcomb.
In tandem with the positive effects of free meals, some negative effects, especially the waste of food, has been seen at the school. Some students feel that the “full lunch” policy forces them to take too much food.
“I find the policy [to take a full meal] strange, and very wasteful,” said senior Thai Emery-Le.
On the other hand, some students at school believe that the food they receive is not enough to get them through the day.
“I wish the food came in bigger portions. Most days I feel like I need to get seconds because it is not enough food,” said junior Mustafa Mustafa.
In the future, students said they hope the Wachusett lunch increases in variety.
“The meat should be koshered so more students of different religious backgrounds can eat it,” said Rouleau.
Freshman Brynley Wheeler agreed, “I would like to see more vegetarian options and a more diverse menu of food in the future.”
While the Regional’s food may not be perfect, other students said they approve of the new decision by the district.
“I like the free food decision,” said Young. “It benefits the families who do not have enough to provide for food at home.”

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Lilly Bumpus, Staff Reporter
Lilly Bumpus is a junior working with the Echo for the first time and likes being on the Varsity field hockey team, listening to music, and baking.
Carlos Chancay, Illustrator
Carlos, a sophomore, is working with the Echo for the first time and loves drawing, playing with his cat, and sleeping.

Comments (0)

All Wachusett Echo Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *