Cafeteria Chaos

Rylee Langdon, Staff Reporter

Long lines, pushing through crowds, and wasted food. This is the reality of the Orchard Park lunch room during the 2021-2022 school year. Karen Phillips, a lunch lady who has worked at OPHS for six years, commented about the situation. 


“One word to describe the kids- wild!” she said. She spoke about how each student is required to take three components; a meat or meat alternative, milk, and a fruit or vegetable. Since lunch is free this year to all students, many kids are throwing out everything, except for the one thing they want. 


The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the working conditions. As with the rest of the country- there is a shortage of workers.

“Our company, Personal Touch, has had to relocate workers to our district because there just aren’t enough people,” She said as she described how her and her coworkers have to put together pre-made lunches for the students at Baker Road Educational Center, who currently have no lunch workers. 


And the problem doesn’t just end with the service itself.


“I’ve had my backpack taken off the chair and thrown on the floor by someone who tried to take my seat while I was up,” said Ava Spencer, an OPHS senior. She attests to the “stampede”, if you will, that runs down the stairs into the lunch room right as the bell rings to secure a seat. 


Unfortunately, there is no simple solution to the chaos. Lunch monitors work tirelessly to try to control kids but sometimes- it’s to no avail.