Two week wait -- for school lunch?

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Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099
Two week wait -- for school lunch?

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?

GloriaInTX's picture
Joined: 07/29/08
Posts: 4111

Our school is the same way, not 2 weeks but 1 week. That is why I just send my just send my kids lunches every day. If it were different I might possibly buy lunch once in awhile if I was busy and they were having something they liked that day, but it is too much trouble to try and figure that out a week in advance.

And the online payment things aren't any better. My older son is in high school and they don't have to order in advance, so he takes his lunch some days and buys it some days. I forgot to give him lunch money the other day so I used the online service, only to find out that they don't credit their lunch account for 1-2 days when you make an online payment. Useless.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

For me personally, I wouldn't mind ordering 2 weeks in advance. I'd prefer my kids to get the fresher stuff. Yeah, it happens that you're kiddo is going to get sick or there's some last minute thing that means you'll lose the $3 you spent to pre-order, but I could live with that. My kids' appts are usually booked way more than 2 weeks in advance so I would be able to plan their lunch orders accordingly.

Of course, this is ME. I don't mind the extra bit of hassle or the loss here and there of a few dollars for better nutrition. That said, I'd want to look into what exactly the nutritional basis of these fresh meals is before getting on board.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

When Alyssa went to school it was $3 to buy the hot lunch. I almost always packed her lunch except for Mondays when they had pizza. I believe in most situations like this I would pack my kids lunch.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I don't see the problem to be honest. I would rather pre pay for fresher food. When I was in Catholic school 25 + years ago, we ordered for the next month.

I make dd1's lunch almost every day...and she's very picky. Takes me 10 minutes at most.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

My kids go back & forth daily on the lunch thing, whether they want hot lunch or want me to make it, so that would definitely be a problem for me! Right now it's very convenient, we decide each day. I prepay online and if they don't have enough, they still give them lunch and then let me know I have to deposit more. It couldn't be easier, which is good because mornings are crazy around here. I want to make lunch for them but mysteriously they love the crappy hot lunch.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

No way. My kids deserve the same consideration as those on free/reduced lunch. The lunch people always have to plan accordingly. It's not like this is new to them.

Joined: 04/12/03
Posts: 1683

I don't prepay this year; the started charging a fee for each transaction.

AlyssaEimers's picture
Joined: 08/22/06
Posts: 6560

"ethanwinfield" wrote:

No way. My kids deserve the same consideration as those on free/reduced lunch. The lunch people always have to plan accordingly. It's not like this is new to them.

I agree that those on free/reduced lunch should be treated equal to those that are not.

Spacers's picture
Joined: 12/29/03
Posts: 4099

"freddieflounder101" wrote:

My kids go back & forth daily on the lunch thing, whether they want hot lunch or want me to make it, so that would definitely be a problem for me! Right now it's very convenient, we decide each day. I prepay online and if they don't have enough, they still give them lunch and then let me know I have to deposit more. It couldn't be easier, which is good because mornings are crazy around here. I want to make lunch for them but mysteriously they love the crappy hot lunch.

We used to use hot lunch as a threat to get Tiven out of bed; if DH spent too long on her, then he just didn't have any time to make home lunch. :bigwink: But she also liked the hot lunches, she just didn't like having to stand in line. The food was actually pretty good, at least the vegetarian ones were. The old vendor was the same as the hospital where both my kids were born, so I've had a few of their vegetarian entrees.

I really hate that they've removed hot lunch as an option for most of us. It's become an all-or-nothing deal.

Joined: 03/08/03
Posts: 3183

"Spacers" wrote:

We used to use hot lunch as a threat to get Tiven out of bed; if DH spent too long on her, then he just didn't have any time to make home lunch. :bigwink: But she also liked the hot lunches, she just didn't like having to stand in line. The food was actually pretty good, at least the vegetarian ones were. The old vendor was the same as the hospital where both my kids were born, so I've had a few of their vegetarian entrees.

I really hate that they've removed hot lunch as an option for most of us. It's become an all-or-nothing deal.

I just think my kids like really crappy food....sigh.

Joined: 08/17/04
Posts: 2226

I missed the part that free/reduced lunch is different. IT should be the same for all kids.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

Up until this year I had to order emmas lunch a MONTH in advance so two weeks doesn't seem so bad. It does change how you "use" school lunch but if I felt I was getting a better product I would give up the convenience of being able to order same day or same week. I like the local products thing and I do prefer fresh to frozen so....id be okay with this.

ClairesMommy's picture
Joined: 08/15/06
Posts: 2299

Honestly, I find this whole ordering lunch thing so weird! lol. There is no hot lunch or school lunch program at DD's school or even in the district. Now, I'm not sure about subsidized families, but generally if your kid eats lunch at school you make it and send it with them. Maybe some families here get help with lunches, but I have no idea. All I know is if we're out of bread I'm either making a run to the store at night or she's not getty a sammy the next day. And of course, the latter is not acceptable. Smile

ftmom's picture
Joined: 09/04/06
Posts: 1538

My kids school only does hot lunch one day a week, and you have to order up to 7-8 weeks in advance. You order 6 weeks at a time, and it has to be in earlier. It is a fundraiser done by the PAC, and if your kid isnt there, you dont get a refund. Its pretty good fresh stuff though (made on site by PAC volunteers), and DD loves to get it, so I generally order for every week unless I know for sure we are going to miss it. I only order the main course though, and a drink, then DD has to use her own money if she wants the fruit cup, or ice cream that can come with it.

Joined: 05/31/06
Posts: 4780

I don't think that this would bother me. Then again, we will be packing lunches.

KimPossible's picture
Joined: 05/24/06
Posts: 3309

"ftmom" wrote:

My kids school only does hot lunch one day a week, and you have to order up to 7-8 weeks in advance. You order 6 weeks at a time, and it has to be in earlier. It is a fundraiser done by the PAC, and if your kid isnt there, you dont get a refund. Its pretty good fresh stuff though (made on site by PAC volunteers), and DD loves to get it, so I generally order for every week unless I know for sure we are going to miss it. I only order the main course though, and a drink, then DD has to use her own money if she wants the fruit cup, or ice cream that can come with it.

Yeah we do once a week too. Mainly because the kids think its fun and it gives us one night a week that we don't have to pack lunch. Its pretty predictable and we just know those other four days we have to make lunch.

When you have to do something...you just do it! Smile

mom3girls's picture
Joined: 01/09/07
Posts: 1533

I would be excited to have the chance to get fresh food for my kids. The opportunity would outweigh the planning inconvenience. Then again, with 4 kids and the fact that we are out the door by 7:15 I have to have a plan and follow it, otherwise it would be crazy around here (more then it already is)

ange84's picture
Joined: 12/28/09
Posts: 6564

Here you have a menu and put an order in via paper bag with the order written on the front and the money inside. It then goes down to the tuck shop and at lunch the food is packed back in the bag in primary school. When I was at school tuck shop was available daily, though from what I am seeing now it looks like most schools have gone for just a few days a week. My school had awesome lunches including fresh salads. As far as I am aware there is no such thing as subsided lunches here , you buy at tuckshop or bring your lunch and thats it. Schools have some emergency lunches, mostly bread and some spread for it, but it's not an everyday thing students can access.

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