$ ‘gap’ puts short hold on lunch

Marshall Islands High School students expressed delight with the expansion of the school lunch program from three-to-five-days per week. Photo: Wilmer Joel.

Despite Nitijela tripling funding for the school lunch program in the national budget approved late last month, the Public School System lunch program ground to a halt September 30 with the expiration of the last fiscal year.

There was no lunch program for the first nine days of October, which included the first quarter exam week last week at Marshall Islands High School. This meant that MIHS students had to leave campus during the exam period to find their lunches throughout the week.

An announcement on V7AB radio last week from the Public School System listed lunch vendors for each school in Majuro and advised them to come into PSS to sign new contracts.
The lunch program was resumed at some schools Monday this week, after lunch vendors were alerted Monday morning by PSS to begin resuming their deliveries of lunch to schools the same day.

Nitijela approved over $3.3 million for a nationwide school lunch program in the new FY2021 national budget. This is up from the $1.1 million originally proposed. The increase supports expansion of the lunch program from three days per week to five days.

Some of the schools have started. Others like school Rita Elementary School (RES) delayed the resumption of their lunch till next week Monday. This is because they are trying to figure out an alternative to using throwaway plates that overload their trash bins and attract stray dogs that disperse the trash around the school grounds.

Marshall Islands High School has set the example of using reusable containers instead of disposable take out plates that are normally used.

RES Principal Rod Nakamura, Jr. told the Journal that RES is going to follow in MIHS’ footsteps.

MIHS Principal Barbara Ned told the Journal that they use reusable containers that the vendors pick up after school for washing and reuse the next day.
Reusable containers were talked about for a long time but it was never put into action until MIHS showed that it can be done.

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