Rising costs for school Lunch causing fewer buyers



With the new vendor for school lunches, the price of lunch keeps rising causing many students to stop buying lunch. https://unsplash.com/license

Cate Stanziola and Isabella Remolina

Pomptonian, CHS’s new food vendor, made its debut at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. It has been marketed as a healthier school lunch option compared to previous years. However, rising prices in food options steered many students away from eating any lunch at all. 

Wall High School, CHS’s previous cafeteria vendor, had provided cheaper food options that some may call lackluster. Yet, students who consistently bought lunch had multiple options — from daily menu items to pre-prepared lunches — and there were two vending machines open to all CHS students. Though looking at the lunch trays of students as food choices consisted of soda and pizza, concerns among students and faculty were raised. Students, such as sophomore Aki Sykes of Tinton Falls, found themselves avoiding “meals of the day” and leaning toward foods such as bagels as a “safer” option. 

However, according to CHS Principal James Gleason, a change had to be made. 

“The switch came about because Wall High School and our cafeteria service pulled out,” Gleason said. “They notified us at the end of last year that they would not be returning.”

This led to the introduction of a new cafeteria vendor, Pomptonian, which prides itself on “serving students the highest quality nutritious lunches” according to the Pomptonian website. 

Menu items contained diverse options with items like falafel and “make-it-yourself” tacos. However, once students and staff started buying the food and feeling the weight of their prices, that excitement students once felt began to fade. 

Health and fitness teacher Virginia Clevenger weighs in on the debate over quality versus cost of the food.

“Well, I’m gonna say of course yes, because if it’s better food, you pay what you get,” Clevenger said.”

On the other hand, many believe that rising food prices isn’t going to gear students toward healthier eating. Senior Elle Mountford of Wall Township comments on inconveniences caused by changes in the food service.

“It’s honestly quite annoying not having vending machines, especially because I am in Art and Set and have to stay long hours after school,” Mountford said. “And I don’t believe that taking away vending machines will push kids to make healthier choices.” 

The push to lead kids to healthier eating habits is pushing them away. By placing higher prices on healthier options, students are forced to resort to cheap items like pre-packaged goods or nothing at all.