Blair begins free dinner program for all students

Oct. 4, 2016, 9:53 p.m. | By Ryan Handel | 4 years, 2 months ago

Other changes to cafeteria include revised lunch menu

Montgomery Blair has been selected by Montgomery County as one of ten high schools to start a program that will offer free dinner to all students. The program, which began at the start of this school year, is available to all students.

Christine Blanton, Blair's cafeteria coordinator, said that Blair's high population made it the perfect candidate for the free dinner program. Blair was chosen "because of high enrollment and late activities," Blanton said.

Dinner is offered beginning at 2:30 p.m., when most students finish their school day. The dinner menu follows a 4-week rotation, which includes a wide variety of meals. Each dinner includes an entrée with two different kinds of fruits or vegetables and a choice of milk or juice, or both.

Photo: Students wait in line for dinner after school.

Some students had mixed opinions on the free dinner program. Junior Antonia Torfs-Leibman, a student who has used the free dinner program, agreed with the choice to make free dinner available to all students. "It greatly helps students that are disadvantaged, and it still helps people who can afford meals to save money," she said.

Sophomore Carlos Barba, who has also used the free dinner program, worried that there was not enough food to serve to all of Blair's students. He thought that people who can afford to buy their own meals may be taking advantage of the opportunity for free food. "Sometimes they run out for people who actually need the food," he said.

This year, MCPS has also changed its lunch menu to improve the nutrition value of its meals. French fries are no longer included in a lunch meal, and students who want to purchase fries now have to buy them as an individual item.
This year's MCPS school lunch menu requires that, each day, cafeterias choose four of five daily options to serve students, along with at least one of two daily specials. The lunches also must include fruit, vegetables, milk and juice.

Barba was not in favor of the changes to the lunch menu, especially the lack of French fries included in meals. "That's crazy," he said. He did not appreciate having to pay extra for fries.

Photo: Blair has started providing free dinner for students after school.

Blanton emphasized that the changes were made to make school lunches healthier. "It's still a complete meal, we substitute French fries with whole grain," she said. She also explained that even though the fries are no longer included in a school lunch, they are a still a relatively healthy option as an individual item. "For health purposes, everything we serve is regulated by the USDA," she said.

Tags: Antonia Torfs-Leibman Carlos Barba Christine Blanton school dinner School lunches

Ryan Handel. My name is Ryan Handel, and I'm a Staff Writer for Silver Chips Online. I'm on the Blair wrestling team and in my spare time I enjoy watching sports and advocating for the Arthritis Foundation. More »

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