High school implements free meal program

Students wait in line for their free plate lunch. (Photo by Sydnie Smith)

The school district has adopted a meal program providing free meals to students as they return to all-in schooling.

Food service director Julianna Carvi explained that under the National School Lunch Program by the USDA-Food to Children Program, Bexley City Schools can now provide free breakfast and lunch to every student in the district regardless of their financial situation.

Carvi said a free meal includes a milk, an entree, fruit and or vegetable side and a choice between two hot options or a big salad. She added that she cannot control if an item goes out of stock, saying that s

he has multiple other options for students to choose from if something is to run out.

Carvi acknowledged that it is difficult to estimate how much food needs to be made per day this year because her staff is relying on meal data they had from last year. She said food supply is short because the free meal program is applied nationwide and the demand for food is high.

Carvi explained that last year when the school went to remote learning, the school provided free meals to Bexley residents who qualified for the meals through federal funding.

“My employees were driving the food and dropping it off and going to people’s houses,” she said. “I was spending a lot of time communicating with families.”

Carvi said that her staff made enough meals to feed roughly 400 students a week during the 2020-2021 school year.

“There is no other district in our area that did this,” Carvi said. “My relationship with parents and their kids is really important to me.”

Assistant Principal Craig McMillen also supports the free lunch program.

“Nobody has to have that moment at the cash register where the attendant leans over and says, ‘hey, by the way you’re short today,’” McMillen said

Senior Isabella Higgins said she believes that the free meals benefit students financially.

“I think it’s great honestly, you know for all students to get it, no matter if they have money or not,” Higgins said.

Carvi explained that being able to provide free food for students helps with overall health.

“The whole idea about the school nutrition program is making sure that America’s next generation is healthy,” Carvi said