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New voices heard at Tobin BOSFoodLove Coalition meeting

December 21, 2018

Food Initiatives

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Food Access

On December 10, the third BOSFoodLove Coalition Meeting was held at the Tobin K-8 School. There was an exciting new voice in the room: a student from Boston Latin School.

As a regular consumer of school food, she provided a valuable perspective on what it’s like to eat school lunch in Boston. Also present at the meeting were FoodCorps members serving in schools across Boston, staff from the Office of Food Access, and a representative from Action for Boston Community Development.

One concern that the BLS student identified was the time crunch that students feel while eating lunch. Students at Boston Latin only have 20 minutes to eat, which many students feel is way too short. Students who choose to eat school lunch are sometimes seen running through the hallways to get a good spot in the lunch line. Faced with this stressful situation, many students choose to bring food from home or skip lunch entirely.

As a FoodCorps service member at the Tobin School, I have witnessed this problem firsthand. Students, especially younger ones, often struggle to open packages and use utensils. Their slow eating speed paired with the limited time allotted for lunch means that many students don’t get to eat as much as they would like to. Lunch period length is an important factor to consider when we think about improving school meals. This conversation reminded me that making school lunch more enjoyable is about much more than just the food; we must also consider all of the other factors that shape the school lunch experience.

Another topic of conversation was building awareness around universal free school meals in Boston. Though breakfast and lunch have been at no cost to BPS families since 2013, families who are new to the district may not be aware of this great resource. The group brainstormed ways to get the word out about free breakfast and lunch. Toward the end of the meeting, we decided that Class Dojo, a school-based social media platform, would be a good way to communicate with parents about school food.

The new year will bring more fruitful BOSFoodLove discussions. We are excited to plan more events and continue engaging with BPS students and families!

This post was written by Amanda Friedman, FoodCorps AmeriCorps Service Member at the Maurice J. Tobin School.