CCC in food fight over most important meal of the day


CCC breakfast sales are causing conflict with the school lunch provider, Wall Food Services.

Brown-bag lunches have long held a lackluster reputation among the school lunch crowd. However, brown-bag breakfasts? If it contains one of Spanish teacher Sabina Campbell’s signature CCC breakfast sale items, then it’s a different story.

After over a year of hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Cultural Communications Club (CCC) has made a resurgence with their breakfast sale fundraisers. At the beginning of the week, a presale order form is emailed to the school, and students and staff are then able to pick up their breakfast on Friday morning. Campbell, who has been the club advisor for over 13 years, is responsible for providing the home-cooked breakfast items, including her signature “bananito,” a “personal banana bread, wrapped in a bow,” as the preorder menu reads.

However, Campbell and her CCC council recently encountered a roadblock with the breakfast sale fundraiser — Wall Food Services, the organization that provides CHS students with lunch, no longer wants the CCC to hold breakfast sales.

“This year, Mr. Gleason mentioned something,” Campbell said. “That they don’t sell when we have breakfast.”

The food services director of Wall Township High School, Alessandra Bailoni, is retiring this year after 27 years on the job. She has worked with Wall Food Services since the partnership between CHS and Wall began, overseeing the lunches going to both her students and CHS students.

“Mr. Gleason called our business administrator one day and asked if Wall service would be able to provide lunch for Communications High School and a contract was made between the two schools,” Bailoni said. “We started providing you lunch [and] we’ve been doing it ever since.”

This close business relationship between CHS and WTHS is where the conflict between CCC breakfast sales and lunch sales began. The Wall food service employees that provide food to CHS students communicated to Gleason that, due to breakfast sales, their lunch sales have gone down.

This prompted Gleason to compromise with the CCC, limiting breakfast sales to occurring every other week as opposed to the weekly schedule they were previously operating on.

However, many students that purchase food from the breakfast sales maintain that they are still buying lunch on those days as they are still hungry at that time regardless of having purchased breakfast.

“If a kid has a burrito at 7:30 why won’t they eat lunch at 10:00?” Campbell said.

The decrease in sales is not necessarily attributed to students not buying lunch at all, but instead that they are not buying as much lunch as they typically would.

“Since I’m not starving in the morning like I usually am, I will maybe buy less food from the cafeteria, but I still buy food,” said sophomore Elisabeth Weiss of Tinton Falls.

Bailoni explained that the total amount of food sold daily is calculated by each individual item sold, meaning that one packet of butter counts as an item. As a result, while Wall is still selling food items on CCC breakfast days, it may not include hot lunch items or items that allow them to make as much of a profit compared to a packet of butter or cream cheese.

“If you’re not selling as much you’re not making as much money,” Gleason said. “They are a business, they have salaries to pay and stuff like that so it does impact their bottom line.”

With the compromise arranged between the CCC and Wall food services, both CHS and WTHS are hopeful to ease the tension while maintaining a good relationship and, above all, keeping students well-fed and energized throughout the day.

“You don’t want them to lose money,” Gleason said. “We want them to be able to stay in business and keep being able to provide quality lunches.”

CHS has been working with Wall High School to provide students with daily meals for an estimated 10 or more years now. CHS principal James Gleason explained that prior to partnering with Wall, lunch was provided to students by Neptune High School. Allied Health and Science High School, which was established four years prior to CHS in 1996, was already working with Neptune at the time, allowing for the partnership to extend to CHS upon the school’s early years of operation.

“Allied had a working relationship with a vendor out of Neptune high school and we were able to kind of seamlessly utilize that same provider,” Gleason said. “Because of the distance they pulled out, so we went through a couple different vendors within that first 10 or 11 years, I would say either two or three different vendors, before Wall said that they would be able to work with us…for my time here the partnership with Wall has been the best partnership.”

Due to the different locations and needs of each full-time MCVSD academy, there is no standardized lunch provider across the five schools. As Gleason explained, the small student population in each school also stands as a challenge in finding lunch providers.

“We don’t have a large student population, we don’t have 1000 students, so sometimes it’s difficult to have an organization come in and serve and to work with us,” Gleason said.

As a result, the administration of each full-time vocational school has turned to different methods and vendors to feed their students. BioTechnology High School, like CHS, works with the Freehold school district’s lunch provider due to their close proximity according to Principal Sharon Bryant. The Marine Academy of Science and Technology contacts an outside vendor, DFD, which operates out of Manasquan, to provide breakfast and lunch for students according to Principal Earl Moore.

Most unique is High Technology High School, which presents students and their families with multiple options as to how their students will get their lunches.

“Families can create an account with the MCVSD Culinary Program in Tinton Falls and can order lunch for $7.00 This consists of a sandwich, dessert and beverage. It is delivered to the school. Only about 20-30 students order each day,” said Principal Tim McCorkell. “When it is open, grades 10-12 can walk over to the Brookdale Community College’s Student Life Center and order lunch…the rest of the student body brings their lunch.”

For CHS, Gleason asserts that Wall Township has held the best working relationship with the school and administration in providing food to the students.

“We’re very fortunate that we’ve had a long standing relationship with Wall Township and the particular person [Alessandra Bailoni] who’s the manager of the food services over at Wall,” Gleason said. “It’s been a great working relationship and I would love to see it continue.”