Letter to the Editor: Child’s school lunch is parents’ responsibility


I am the cafeteria manager at W.W. Robinson Elementary School in Woodstock. I would like to add some input concerning both alternative meals and the summer feeding program.

If you don’t pay your electric bill, your current is cut off. If you don’t pay your phone bill, your service will be suspended. Why then should there not be consequences if parents do not pay their child’s lunch charges? I realize it is not the child’s fault, but the parents need to take responsibility.

A child can charge $25 before the alternative lunch comes up. We have a breakfast program which pays for breakfast if they have no money. For a reduced lunch fees child, this means about three months of lunches. I send out charge letters weekly, make phone calls to my largest charges once a week and I find most parents are appreciative and send money in promptly. I do sometimes have a few parents who fail to respond.

Food service gets no local tax dollars. We are entirely self supporting. We have bills to pay, just like everyone else.

A reduced lunch fees child can eat lunch all week for $2. I think most of us waste $2 a week, either for a pack of cigarettes, a six-pack of beer, a soda or a special ring tone on our phone. Shouldn’t the child be more important?

The summer feeding program is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and does not receive any local funds. We had to apply and were found eligible due to the high number of free and reduced lunch students in the county.  Any child through age 18 can get a free nutritious lunch Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. July 6 through Aug. 6 at W.W. Robinson.  Finally, if anyone thinks their child may qualify for free or reduced lunch, please take the time to fill out the form. There is no shame in taking a helping hand if it’s needed.

If a child has charges, give me a call at the school when school starts. I am willing to work with parents, but they must talk to me.

Joan Ritenour, Woodstock