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Students ask SRC for fresher lunch food

This article was originally published in The Notebook. In August 2020, The Notebook became Chalkbeat Philadelphia.

Student activists from Youth United for Change pressed their case Thursday with the School Reform Commission to change lunch vendors to one that serves more fresh and appealing food.

The District "has the opportunity to become a national leader in the campaign to change the way how children eat in school," said Daniel Frye of YUC, a senior at Kensington Urban Education Academy.

He and Cierra Mallette, a student at Edison High School, told members that students often don’t eat the "pre-plated" lunch food served in the school cafeteria and recommended that the District hire Revolution Foods, which uses natural ingredients and doesn’t freeze its food before serving.

The company would also bring jobs to the city, they said.

"It’s important to take our opinion as youth into consideration," Frye said. "We know what we want to eat and what’s good for our bodies." YUC has pushed for student involvement in the decision about a food provider.

SRC member Sylvia Simms asked the students whether they see a lot of food wasted, and they said they do see food thrown out and students skipping lunch.

Groups that signed on to the statement urging a contract with Revolution Foods include Asian Americans United, the Dorothy Mann Center at St. Christopher’s Hospital, the Jewish Labor Committee, the Philadelphia Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals, the PFT, and the Food Trust.

The District now contracts with Maramont Corp. for school lunches. The Maramont contract is one of the District’s largest, at $32.5 million annually.

School lunch was the topic of several other speakers. A student from Adaire Elementary School and Chef Kess were among those who urged the SRC to join the "meatless Mondays" movement, both as a health move and one that is more humane to animals. The Humane Society has been leading that campaign locally.

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