Our school district recently switched food service providers. The old vendor produced frozen entrees that were heated at each school and served along with locally-sourced fruit & milk. The new vendor serves all "fresh" foods, meaning they are served within 24 hours of being made; they also claim to use only locally-sourced ingredients, and never fry anything. That would seem like a good thing, but here's what it means to anyone who is NOT part of the free or reduced lunch program. We now have to order lunch two weeks in advance.
With the old vendor, if you were having a rough morning & didn't get lunch made, or if a lunch box was forgotten at home, your child could still have lunch. You just let the cafe lady know in the morning & paid your $3. No more. If you don't give two weeks' notice, you don't get lunch; if you order it and end up being out sick, you still have to pay for it. The school district seems to think that having non-frozen meals trumps being able to order lunch on short notice. Many parents seem to disagree. At our school, pretty much no one is ordering hot lunch any more, which is costing the school money because the paid lunches helped subsidize the free lunches.
Would you order school lunches two weeks in advance? Would you prefer frozen entrees if it means you can order lunch for your child on short notice? Or do you think having "fresh" food (which isn't exactly fresh, but not frozen, prepared up to 24 hours in advance) is best at all costs?