PHOTO: Contact-free grab and go lunch is available in the All Student Center.
By Alex Miyamoto,
The last bell at Davis High rings and students from various classes flood the hallways. Students finishing up the in-person learning day at DHS are eager to fill their stomachs with nutrition. Some students venture home to eat, while others prefer to pick up food provided by the school.
Davis Joint Unified School District offers free meals across several different school campuses from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The school provides grab and go meals to students that may not have food at home or those who want a quick and easy meal.
Students like sophomore Jake Shaal find convenience in the grab and go food system at DHS.
“It’s an easy way to get free food without having to prepare anything,” Shaal said.
Other students simply don’t have time. Sophomore Fernando Mendonza occasionally picks up a meal from the school due to his parents not having enough time to make him lunch.
Grab and go lunches relieves stress off a lot of students, as it provides comfort of knowing that there is food available to them.
Mark Powell, the director of student nutrition at DJUSD, understands the importance of free meals. “[There] is a higher level of food insecurity during the pandemic than we would normally see,” Powell said. Students knowing that they do not have a guaranteed supply of food can cause anxiety and stress, but recognizing that there is nutritional food available can comfort students.
There has been an increase in grab and go meals as students return to the campus across the district. Miyuki Carson has been working as the kitchen manager in the district for 20 years and explained that at the start of April the district has been serving around 1,500 meals a day across various campuses.
As far as nutrition, the district provides students with nutritious meals each day, which include whole grain products, fresh fruit and vegetables, and milk products. The only difference with grab and go meals is the format of distribution, which has changed to follow COVID-19 protocols.
Powell looks forward to returning to a more familiar standard, “as conditions warrant we will return to be doing the best school lunches we can possibly do which means an increase in more fresh products,” Powell said.
The grab and go environment has been described as “friendly and quick” by students like Shaal.
Shaal recommends the food to people who need a quick lunch. “It’s nice if you don’t feel like making anything […] and the pastries are usually really good,” Shaal said.