The Lunch Lines: the Glorious Quest of the Cafeteria

Abigail Lowry, ENN Staff

The new school year has brought many new changes, however some things remain the same. Due to the large number of students and the staff shortages, the lunch line length and time it takes to go through the line has proven to be a consistent problematic matter. 

Some students feel that last year the lines worked better. Keilyn Swing, sophomore, appreciated the COVID friendly organization of the lines last year due to the speed, flow, and flexibility of the lines.

“The lines are so long because they are all over the place and it isn’t as organized as it was last year, like how it was released by sections, and does not release everyone at once. I think that they should change the format back to last year’s because it would be a lot quicker and give everyone a chance to eat,” Swing said.

The lines have been different than the past few years, especially before the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The hard working lunch staff have been keeping everything in the kitchen organized and freshly made for each student who goes through the lunch lines. Kitchen Manager, Michelle Myrow, loves cooking for the lines, and thoroughly loves serving Lake Ridge students.

“This year since everything is so different, we have four lines and two lines are nachos or Asian day and the other two are always sandwiches and pizza. I have to say that nachos and the Asian food is my favorite to make because it is a lot of work but it’s fun,” Myrow said. 

The line typically takes a steady amount of time due to the amount of students going to each line and picking out what meal they shall eat for the day. Even though it’s a bit of a long process, students end up getting the lunch meal they have been craving throughout the school day. Sophomore, Ewa Flake, has noticed a pattern in the length of time and distance in the line, and methodically picks her food due to the length. 

“It takes about ten minutes for me to go through, and I go in the line with the least amount of people or I wait until there are less people,” Flake said. 

Some people feel that the line issues have something to do with the students’ abilities. Neveri feels that the length has to do with the walking patterns of students, and how they move about the cafeteria. 

“The lines are so long because people don’t know where to go and where to walk,” Neveri said.

Some students feel that the line time has something to do with the ability of the lunch ladies. While Brooklyn Finley, sophomore, appreciates the work the lunch ladies do, she feels that some of them take a while, causing the lines to struggle. 

“Some of the lines move faster because the lunch ladies work faster than others because they take a long time,” Finley stated.

The shortage of people needing jobs affects the lunch ladies too. Myrow sees the problem with the lunch lady shortage, and is doing her best to fix it. 

“We don’t have enough lunch ladies. We have tried to simplify the menu as much as possible, and include a lot of packaged and finger foods so that we are not having to take a lot of time to prepare or dish. Honestly, we only have four lines when we need five or six lines to accommodate the population of our school and the amount of students that we see and there’s just a shortage of people right now,” Myrow stated. 

The work of the custodians is greatly appreciated by students, and the cafeteria is reflected by their work. Flake feels that the custodians help keep the lines clean, and she appreciates that.

“There are more people in some lines than others so it makes it harder to clean, and the custodians do a really good job of keeping it clean,” Flake said. 

The lunch ladies do their best to make their job fun. Myrow loves her job, and does the best she can to make it fun for her coworkers. 

“We play a lot of music and just try to work together as a team back there and just try to make the day as fun as we can,” Myrow said. 

Sometimes the lunch ladies need a reset, especially with the stress from COVID-19 shortages. Myrow feels that her job is being restricted due to COVID shortages on supplies, and that can make her job stressful. 

“Sometimes we have to stop and reevaluate what we are doing and see if there is a better or easier or faster way to do it. This year has been really challenging because of the shortages from all the vendors. We are having to redo the menus on a constant basis to make sure we have all the right food because the vendors are having trouble getting us some of our food that we need so we just reevaluate it and rethink it. Sometimes as a manager I have to go in the freezer and scream a couple of times but it’s good,” Myrow said.