Long Lunch Lines Leave Students Frustrated

Alexandra Realmuto, Editor

As the saying goes: there is no such thing as a free-lunch. Meaning, there is always a price to be paid for getting something for free. The cost of a school lunch at South Broward High School? Time. 

Ever since the first lunch bell rang in August, students have had to wait up to 20 minutes out of a 30 minute lunch in order to get food. SBHS senior Galileah Harmon is a victim of the endless wait.

“There are times where I simply won’t eat because the lines are too long,” said Harmon. “When I do get my food, I usually have to rush to eat it because of the wait in line.” 

 At the start of lunch each line is the same length, but as more students enter the cafeteria, the line for the fan favorite pizza progressively gets longer. Sophomore Elias Hurtado is annoyed with the amount of time he wastes during lunch.  

“I feel like I spend all of my lunch time in line,” said Hurtado.

At the beginning of the pandemic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture began providing free lunch to all school-age children. In an attempt to reduce food insecurity, all students needed to do was drive up and provide a school ID to receive their meals. They doubled-down on their offer this year, adding $1.5 billion to provide food to any student. The difference is now students are in person and everyone is in the cafeteria to get free food.

Yvonne Sherba, Assistant Principal and supervisor of South Broward’s cafeteria knows about the issue but she thinks the cutting of red tape is worth it. 

 “When the meals are free for everybody, students don’t have to worry about having money in their account, they don’t have to worry about their parents completing a free or reduced lunch form to make sure their meals are free,” said Sherba. 

To combat the endless wait, cafeteria staff and administrators added extra lunch windows and spread the pizza lines across the cafeteria lines once others shorten. 

In some cases, students have found their own ways of lessening the wait.

SBHS Senior Matthew Hodges has come to realize the benefits of not getting into the line right away. 

“I tend to wait until the middle of lunch to get food and wait it out at the tables with friends,” said Hodges.

After the initial rush, this method has allowed him to wait in line for only a couple of minutes.

 “When the bell rings we don’t have a lot of kids who are still sitting with a full tray of food needing to eat it,” says Sherba.

Junior Emily Shamoun’s classes are relatively close to the cafeteria, she makes the most of her lunch time by getting there early.

“I typically only have to wait a little bit and then I am able to eat lunch with my friends in the cafeteria for the rest of lunch,” she said.

SBHS Food Service Manager Victoria Hoods at South Broward is responsible for maintaining efficiency in the cafeteria. She does not mind the lines and sees it as students are getting more and more food.    

“I hope the lunch lines get longer so none of the students stay hungry,” said Hoods.

Amelia Petrello contributed research to this report.