PHS Reduced School Lunch

Gabby Fancy, Paper Clip Staff/Writer

All across the country, schools from elementary to high school are serving lunch in cafeterias. Whether students want what the school provides, or bring their own lunch, the school lunch option is there. 


During the 2021-2022 school year, PHS participated in the federally funded Universal Free School Lunch program, which was implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, during this current school year, 2022-2023, this program ended, and at the moment there are no changes for next school year. 


According to an NPR article on May 3, 2023 by Kate Grumke, “The U.S Department of Agriculture recently proposed an expansion to a free meal program, to try and significantly feed students at high-need schools.” Grumkes article also stated, “When meals were free last year, schools served more than 80 million more meals compared to the year before the pandemic.”


Portsmouth High School offers the Universal Free School Lunch program to anyone who applies and qualifies. According to City of Portsmouth Schools, “Applications for free and reduced lunch can be submitted to the cafeteria at any time during the school year.”


“Some students get free lunch and discounted lunch. I think it’s a great thing because especially at the high school level some people probably need it,” said Charlie Grossman, PHS assistant principal. Grossman agreed it would be nice if students could get free lunches. He also disclosed that he doesn’t know who gets free or reduced lunch because it’s private information. 


Elizabeth Diemer, a study center teacher at PHS, wasted no time expressing her feelings about the situation related to free lunch. “I think the government was compassionate to say to families, look, I know you’re hurting and we are going to look out for your kids so you won’t have to worry about paying for lunch while you or your family members are sick from COVID,” said Diemer.  “Now that it’s over the government said no more free school lunch.” 


Jean Lara, a PHS senior, said, “ it’s not right because some people don’t have the financial stability to afford lunch at school. Students shouldn’t have to worry about paying for school lunches. Students already have so much to worry about with financial stuff including; paying for parking, prom tickets, uniforms for sports teams, etc.” 

By federal law, all schools must offer a free and reduced lunch program for those in need. If you think you and your family qualify click here to apply for free and reduced lunch meals.