Hershey High School students hope new lunches coming soon

During the pandemic, the federal government implemented a universal free lunch program. This program ran throughout the 2021-2022 school year, helping many afford meals and buy lunch regularly.

The 2022-23 school year, the universal free lunch program stopped being funded, leading to many students being upset that they wouldn’t be able to buy lunch everyday like before. 

Last year students had the choice of daily pizza and burger options like usual. Now, the food staff have added a daily special each day and are trying to expand upon that.

Even though students have daily specials now, many still complain about the fact they don’t offer meals that were previously there before the pandemic, such as smiley fries, different types of food bars, and desserts. 

Gregory Hummel, the Director of Food Service, and the food staff are trying their best to bring these options back. They want to add options such as Asian, taco, and Mexican bars along with the food that was previously there before. 

When Hershey High School had free lunches, the numbers of students eating lunch skyrocketed, almost doubling the numbers before. Now that students have to pay for lunch, about 250 fewer kids eat everyday. 

When something like this happens, many forget that there are things behind the scenes that control the process. 

“During COVID we had to let a lot of food staff go,” said Hummel, when asked what was the hardest challenge during the pandemic. They had to let go over half of the food staff from previous years. 

Now that most schools have laid back on COVID precautions, they are able to hire more food staff and keep different lunch options available to students. Though, this comes with a consequence of not being able to keep lunches free.

Zara is putting the pizza in the oven for lunch. Gregory Hummel – the director of food services – wanted to add more pizza options to the menus in the near future, so students have more variety. (Broadcaster/ Isabella Dimopoulos)