The Reflection

Gull Lake High School's Online News Source

Food shortage at school cafeteria causes dismay amongst Gull Lake High School students

It’s no secret that the Covid pandemic has caused a spike in unemployment numbers causing a great problem within many communities and businesses. Unemployment rates reached 14.8 percent, in April of 2020, the highest recorded since the year 1948 according to the Congressional Research Service

Empty Gull Lake Lunch Room Shelves Photo by Hazel Bigelow

As a result of this high unemployment rate communities all over the country are seeing a startling increase in wages along with costs of everyday items. Jobs that were once paying only minimum wage are now offering starting pay of up to $15 an hour, and this is being seen in even the smaller communities such as our very own village of Richland. The lack of workers in the workforce has had quite an effect on Gull Lake High School’s cafeteria staff resulting in a vast decline of food available to students at lunches.  

What started out as being a minor problem has now expanded to a slightly larger one. At the start of the 2021 school fall trimester, Gull Lake High School experienced its first loss, the favorited sandwich line. This was one of the first things to be recognized around the school, and it quickly became a popular talk of the classrooms. During announcements at the beginning of the year Principal Don Eastman assured students at the beginning of the year that this loss was due to the lack of cafeteria staff and that it would be back within the next few weeks after new hires were made, but as weeks have passed the beloved sandwich line has not made its comeback. As time progressed, the sandwich line was not all that disappeared, in fact now all the salads, wraps and all other lunch options (excluding the lot lunch line) have seemed to be flying off the shelves leaving students with daily diminishing options. It seems as though now, due to this shortage of food students have been forced into joining a race to reach the cafeteria in hopes of finding a decent lunch before earlier lunches snag the rest. This issue has even gained a spot in a discussion in Gull Lake’s highly popular podcast, Sports by Schmucks, hosted by varsity soccer player Dewitt Renwick and school celebrity Charlie Fox.  Although student complaints on this topic may come across as exaggerated to teachers and staff to students, this is no small matter. 

Many students have to wake up early to make the commute to school where they will sit through hours of lessons and work on their studies before they are able to eat and have a break. Because of early wakeup times, it can be expected that many students have not had the time to eat breakfast. This makes having access to good, healthy lunches even more of a necessity for these students. According to the Harvard Medical School, eating healthy, nutritional food fuels the brain and has an effect on its structure, function, and moods, all of which are required to be strong and healthy in order to really learn subject material and absorb the knowledge being relayed to them in classes. Just like students need sleep to give their bodies and minds a rest, they also need food to be able to fuel their bodies and minds so that they can keep learning and functioning at a high rate. 

The continuance of lunch shortages at the high school does not have a foreseeable end, but it can be assumed that until more people step into the workforce this unfortunate case will continue to be a menace to the students of Gull Lake High School.

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