From Free to Fee: APS Brings Back Paid Lunches


You Never Know What You’ve Got Until It’s Gone: With the saddening reversal of free school lunches in APS, Dubs show disapproval for their new reality.

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic, APS has offered free lunches to all of its students and happy stomachs have been filled for the great price of zero dollars. However with the start of the new school year, those free meals have been taken away. Unless they qualify for free or reduced price meals, all students now have to pay for their desired lunches. Contrary to many students’ beliefs, this decision wasn’t randomly made by APS. Federal funds that supported the free lunches from the U.S. Department of Agriculture has ended. For that reason, many local school districts have had to start charging their students again. This change may affect some students less than others if they bring their own lunch or simply don’t eat during lunch time. However, for those who do regularly get school lunches, what does this change mean to them?

Some students don’t feel too strongly about having to pay for lunch. It just doesn’t make much of a difference to them. “I mean, I guess I would prefer free lunches, but it doesn’t affect me whatsoever now that we have to pay for them,” said senior Ethan Holcomb.

Other students are a bit more frustrated with the change this year. Even if it doesn’t pose a serious problem, it takes money that could be used elsewhere for them. “I’ll keep buying lunch here when I’m hungry, but that money I feel I could just be using for something else,” said senior Kassidy Jiles.

There are also students who have decided to stop getting lunch at school, and start bringing their own because of the change. Lunch is less of an offer and more of an exchange. “I got the school lunch before because I just might as well when it’s free. Now, since you gotta pay, I might as well just bring my own” said senior DeShawn Merritt.

The shift in school lunches from being free to being at a cost is one that, while inconvenient, will not serve to separate students from any desired meals. Students can still qualify for free or reduced price lunches, and the food quality hasn’t dropped any since last year. The change also isn’t guaranteed to be permanent, as it can be potentially reverted if federal funds are supplied again. At any rate, lunch will at least always continue to serve as a break from class.