Free Lunch? Free!


Janette Fu

Titans wait in a long line for their lunch. SMHS provides free lunch for its students and will continue to do so because of a new bill that allows California public schools to give free meals to all students.

Janette Fu, Managing Editor

The bell rings, and you dash to get lunch. The lines look even longer than before. You go up to the window and order. The lunch lady hands you a brown paper bag and shouts “Next!” However, you didn’t input your student ID because the machine wasn’t there. How is she going to charge you for your meal?

Proposed by East Bay Senator Nancy Skinner, the “Free School Meals For All” bill, SB 364, was approved on June 29, 2021, making California the first state to permanently adopt free school meals for all public school K-12 students, regardless of family income. Before, in order to qualify for the federal free lunch program, parents had to provide details about their income. Now, no questions are asked; everybody receives free meals. 

Here at SMHS, the students enjoy free breakfasts and lunches. There are various options to choose from. You get various foods such as milk (chocolate or white), a main meal (pizza, chicken sandwich, corn dog, etc.), fruit (apples, canned peaches, strawberries), vegetables (carrot, celery), and even a sweet treat (cookie). How do students feel about these free meals? 

“I guess it’s more convenient that I don’t have to pack my own lunch anymore, and I can save my money,” Jonathan Fan (12) said. “I agree, the free [aspect] makes the food so much better,” Kyle Dobson (11) said. 

“I think it is a great program because hungry students cannot learn well. There are hundreds of families in California who do not have the means to feed their children. This will provide some comfort to families knowing that their children will be provided with breakfast, lunch, and in some school districts an afternoon snack at no cost to the families I believe that no child should go hungry when it can be prevented,” Carolle Thompson, SMUSD’s Food Services Director, said.