Dry carrots, rice, 4 baby nuggets: Dad slams NY school for poor lunch affecting teen health
'They have been complaining that since the lunches are now free for everyone, the portions have dropped,' dad of four Chris Vangellow said
A furious father of four from Parishville, New York, recently took to social media to express his displeasure with the poor quality lunch offered at his kids' school. Chris Vangellow, whose children attend the Parishville-Hopkinton Central School District, shared a photo of the standard free lunch at the school, slamming the 'unappetizing' food low in nutrition and energy. The photo, which was reportedly the lunch for high school teenagers, showed a toddler-sized platter with a few dry and wilted baby carrots, a small helping of white rice, and four shriveled chicken nuggets, along with a mini carton of non-fat chocolate milk.
"I think the Parishville School Lunches might be a bit lacking a bit. even for a kid that isn't 6'5 like Ash. If this was a game day I don't think any of the team would be getting enough energy from something like this," Vangellow wrote in his post. The photo soon went viral and sparked outrage among the public, including concerned parents. Many lambasted the school for 'failing' their students, eventually prompting the school superintendent to address the issue.
In his Facebook post, Chris Vangellow wrote, "When Auryn (another of his kids) came through he didn't even see any dry tasteless carrots available. He also chose to not have any of the plain rice as a side because that is not very appetizing either. They have been complaining that since the lunches are now free for everyone, the portions have dropped. I got this photo today. It really is ridiculous."
He further noted, "Don’t come at me with the ‘you get what you pay for’ or ‘just send them with food’ crap either. Yeah we can do that and sometimes the kids do choose to bring something from home or will buy extra lunch to get more in them to get them through a day."
"The problem is," he elaborated, "..that not all families can do that. We don't live in a very rich area. Some kids may not get much or anything when at home and this is what they have to survive on. They rely on the meals that the school provides. This is what they get though. In my opinion, this is failing those kids."
According to a description of the Parishville-Hopkinton Central School District in US News Education, the district comprises 390 students in two schools, among whom 42.1% of students hail from economically disadvantaged families. These students are eligible for the federal free and reduced-price meal, which has now come under the scanner for its poor nutritional quality and portion size.
Following the outrage generated by Vangellow's post, Superintendent William E. Collins defended the school saying, "..many students and parents are dissatisfied with school lunches. In fairness to the cafeteria, students are allowed one more serving of fruits or vegetables and one additional nugget than appeared in the photograph." However, he also noted that the cafeteria manager was creating a group to discuss the issue and improve the lunch quality.