The Emergency Lunch

Choice_lunch My first grader’s school outsources hot lunch to a local company, Choice Lunch. The school provides organic, often locally sourced, nutritious meals…at a hefty price. For just under $5.00 a lunch, hot lunch is not something that we partake in on a regular basis.

While on a business trip, I paid $6.40 for my own lunch at the company cafeteria. Paying almost the same amount for a six year old’s lunch is a little ridiculous. Even if it is organic, locally sourced, and nutritious.

I try not to think about how much of his $4.65 gets thrown out in the trash considering that my kid regularly eats two slices of turkey, 10 goldfish crackers, and half a piece of fruit for lunch.  At least two days a week comes home with food still LEFTOVER in his lunch bag.  If I had to guess, he’s eating about $1.75 worth of food.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Choice Lunch asking for payment of $6.10 for an “Emergency Lunch.”

What the hell is an Emergency Lunch?  It better come with lights, sirens, and it’s own police escort for that price.

Turns out that Choice Lunch sends a few extra meals in case a child did not have a lunch.  I think it’s admirable that the company would make sure that no child goes hungry.

But what happens when the child that they claim would go hungry without their lavish Emergency Lunch did not in fact go hungry because his mother packed him a lunch?  I may be a working mom and I may be busy, but I’ve never once in all of Darius’s life ever forgotten to pack him a lunch. And I’ve been packing lunches since the kid was 27 months and started preschool.

On the day that they are claiming that Darius didn’t have a lunch, I know for a fact that he had a lunch.  A lunch that I personally packed with lots of love and nutritional goodness. For a whole lot cheaper than $5.00, let alone $6.10.  I personally put that lunch in his backpack along with a fruit leather for morning recess and an eco-friendly reusable water bottle for PE.

I don’t know if the lunch lady marked down the wrong kid or what. But I know that there was no need for an Emergency Lunch. I quickly sent their customer service a note explaining that there has to be a mix-up.  I’m not paying for an Emergency Lunch.

Then I received a very lovely email from Keith in customer service. He asked me to double-check with my child about whether or not he had received a hot lunch that day.  He said that they’ve heard of kids eating their entire lunch for morning snack and even a few cases where a kid has ditched their home-lunch for something better in the hot lunch line.

I never considered that Darius himself asked for a hot lunch when he had a home lunch. Did he forget? Did he see something he liked better? Was he so hungry that he ate both his home lunch and the hot lunch?  When I picked up Darius from school that day, I casually asked about it. He was truthful… he hadn’t double-checked his backpack and just got in line with his friends into the hot lunch line.

I guess I should be charged for a Non-Emergency Lunch.

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  1. September 23, 2010
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  5. October 26, 2010
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