Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Naperville Central High School's award-winning newspaper.

Central Times

Ellen Purl, pictured in 2023. Photo Credit: Flight Yearbook
Junior becomes first Central girl wrestler to make state tournament
Evelyn Zwicky, Online Managing Editor • March 4, 2024
Jake Pfeiffer was named the Illinois Journalist of the year on Feb. 23.
Central Times Editor-in-Chief named Illinois Journalist of the Year
Javen Oswald, Marketing, Outreach and Engagement Managing Editor • February 28, 2024
Opinion: A (Barnes and) Noble solution for downtown
Opinion: A (Barnes and) Noble solution for downtown
Nolan Shen, Arts & Entertainment Editor • February 27, 2024
A Naperville Central swimmer races the backstroke at last years IHSA state championship.
Pushing past the limit: Overtraining at Central and beyond
Nolan Shen, Arts and Entertainment Editor • February 23, 2024
View All
Support Us
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of the Central Times by helping to fund their monthly print issues.

Recent Tweets
Instagram posts
Weather Central


  • 10 PM
    61 °
  • 11 PM
    60 °
  • 12 AM
    57 °
  • 1 AM
    53 °
  • 2 AM
    50 °
  • 3 AM
    47 °
  • 4 AM
    46 °
  • 5 AM
    45 °
  • 6 AM
    44 °
  • 7 AM
    44 °
  • 8 AM
    43 °
  • 9 AM
    43 °
  • 10 AM
    43 °
  • 11 AM
    43 °
  • 12 PM
    43 °
  • 1 PM
    45 °
  • 2 PM
    46 °
  • 3 PM
    47 °
  • 4 PM
    47 °
  • 5 PM
    46 °
  • 6 PM
    45 °
  • 7 PM
    43 °
  • 8 PM
    41 °
  • 9 PM
    40 °
  • 10 PM
    40 °
March 4
74°/ 53°
Moderate rain
March 5
48°/ 39°
Moderate rain
March 6
48°/ 35°
Sunny

Editorial: Cafeteria catastrophe: how to fix our food service fissures

Editorial%3A+Cafeteria+catastrophe%3A+how+to+fix+our+food+service+fissures
Alice Wang

This is an editorial about, among other things, how District 203’s current food provider, OrganicLife, is horrible at communication. But even if we send this issue to their headquarters, Email them a link to the web version of this editorial and mention them on social media for good measure, there is almost no chance they will read it.

There’s an even lower chance that they’ll respond, or do anything about the flaws we point out here, because they simply don’t have to.

In the past nine months or so since OrganicLife was contracted to provide breakfast and lunch to District 203, Central Times reporters have sent three requests for comment to the company for various stories, and never received any communication back.

Students from Central’s Peace and Conflict Studies class working on a project about 203’s food service were also unable to set up meetings with anyone from Organic Life.

Even Jackie Thornton, Central’s principal, has been trying for months to discuss plans for a potential coffee shop and the lack of food in Central’s faculty cafe, and hasn’t been able to score a meeting with them.

This lack of proper communication is problematic, and in the eyes of this editorial board, unacceptable. And it points to much deeper flaws in terms of how school districts contract with food services (as a whole).

203 receives funding for students with financial need through the National School Lunch Program-or NSLP-a support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To participate and receive funding, a school must contract with the lowest priced school lunch provider that meets the department’s nutritional standards.

These standards are “largely based upon recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies,” written in the rules and regulations of the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Examples range from 80% of grains offered must be whole grain-rich, meals cannot contain added trans-fat and no more than 10% of calories can come from saturated fat.

By meeting standards of nutrition through the cheapest means possible, a provider can benefit from four years of sweet government-assured profits.

These incentives, however, are not working to the benefit of students, and the entire context of how this business is conducted generates no incentive for OrganicLife – or any similar low-bid food providers – to respond to any district or media requests.

The editorial board understands that the company has only been in the district for a half a year,  and some time is needed for familiarizing and adjusting, but we find it unlikely that OrganicLife is ignoring media requests and delaying meetings simply because they are just getting started in our district.

In truth, the reality here is pretty simple: District 203 gets what they pay for. Even if OrganicLife has slightly better food or service than Aramark (which is debatable), Aramark was more accessible and showed a willingness to respond to requests, even media requests. There’s always a give and take when you’re locked into taking the lowest option; the lowest acceptable level of quality is just that.

There is a way out, though, one that has been modeled by other school districts, and that is to walk away from the NSLP. In doing so, the district would no longer be required to contract with the lowest bidder or be held to the NSLP’s requirements.

This won’t be cheap, of course, but if any district could afford it, ours could. District 203 found itself with almost $65 million in surpluses this year that it has to spend. We could spring for a better food service provider, and help finance free and reduced lunches, too.

We could get better food, better service. Better communication, even.

There is a way out of this. And maybe we could find a company that would actually respond to one of our emails.

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Alice Wang, Page Designer & Editorial Cartoonist
Alice Wang is a junior, and is entering their third year with Central Times. Alice loves comics and animation, and plans on majoring in Film Production. Along with being an editorial cartoonist and page designer for the Times, Alice is also the general manager of Chinese Club, and plans on playing Badminton for Central. In their free time, they enjoy reading poorly-written webcomics, watching horror films, sleeping and conjuring up ideas to pitch to film studios in the future.
Donate to Central Times
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All Central Times Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *