Aramark™ Makes Horrible Lunches, and Kids Do Something About It

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I go to Leal Elementary School in Urbana,
and our school lunches suck. Most of the
kids in my class think the school lunches
are unhealthy, and should not be served at
our school, or any other elementary
school. For me, our school lunches made
me feel sick. A couple hours after I ate
them my stomach felt like it was turned
upside down.
At first we just made jokes about suing
Aramark™. Then I decided that we had to
do something to protest our school lunches.
I mostly didn’t do much except for talking
to kids about starting up a protest. So
we formed Healthy School Lunch (HSL).
Three of my friends, K., L., and A., made
signs and we held them during lunchtime
as a part of our picket. We did this ever day
for about a month. Some of the signs said
things like, “Stay healthy, don’t eat school
lunch,” and “H.S.L wants to make school
lunch more healthy—Join H.S.L.”
After our protests about three or four
new kids joined, but a lot of kids thought it
was stupid. I think they were afraid of getting
in trouble, but we weren’t and we kept
protesting. After about 20 or so of these
protests the lunch counselors took our
signs away, but we made new ones and
continued to protest for a little longer. Also
the principal started to make new rules to
stop us like: ‘no standing up during
lunchtime,’ ‘restricting a lot of talking during
lunch time,’ and ‘what we could bring
with us at lunch.’
Then we decided to write a letter to the
school board, and start a petition. A couple
of kids brought the petition to each fifth
grade class. Over fifty kids signed the petition,
and a girl, M., and her parents took
them to a school board meeting one night.
I think this really made a difference
because in March some school board members
and two Aramark™ guys came to our
school to meet with our group. They came
at lunch hour, and sat with us to talk. During
the meeting the school board members
did eat the school lunch food, but the Aramark
™ members didn’t, and they wouldn’t
tell us why when we asked.
During the meeting we got to ask them
questions like: “Is the
war affecting the quality
of our lunches?”
and “Why did they
stop having vegetarian
meals?” They said that
the war had nothing to
do with our lunch,
and that the salad bar
replaced vegetarian
meals. Then that
aroused the question:
“Why are all the vegetables
at the salad bar
so soggy?” They said
that it was not their
fault, but the fault of
the company they got
the actual food from.
The Aramark™ guys
said that they make lunch at the middle
school and high school every day. So I
asked them if we get it the next day, and
the school board members, not Aramark
™, said “yes.” They said that they
would TRY to make school lunch better
and promised that they would try really
hard. It really seemed like they didn’t take
us seriously though.
What I learned from
this experience is that
when you are not at
someone else’s level of
authority, maturity, or
age, you need a lot of
people to make a difference.
I also think other
kids should know that
you can stand up for
what you think, no
matter what the consequences
are. Also, kids
should know that one
kid CAN make a difference,
but many people
make a BIGGER difference.
Last, but not
least, I hope that other
kids keep the HSL
going next year, and that other schools
start a HSL.
By the way, I later found out that Aramark
™ also makes the food for the jail. I
hope that their lunch isn’t as bad as ours.

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