AVI Foodsystems announced earlier this month that school lunches will be free for the rest of the school year to Cathedral Prep students. In the spirit of good partnership and support of the student body during the COVID-19 pandemic, the food provider has made lunch more accessible to students who choose to take advantage of the offer beginning Feb. 8.
“We can provide hot meals to students with no charge,” said Chef Hale, the AVI staff member responsible for cooking Cathedral Prep’s lunches. “That’s the advantage of having free school lunches.”
The idea has been a topic of discussion among AVI Foodsystems since December of last year. After taking into consideration the current stresses being caused by the pandemic, the food provider decided to extend the benefit of free lunches onto the students of Cathedral Prep.
“It’s just the climate we’re in because of COVID and because we’re ‘this,’” said Chef Hale, gesturing toward his mask. “There is a very limited amount of students in school, so we had to come up with a strategy that both benefitted the students and helped us out at the same time.”
Accomplishing that goal partially, the opportunity to dine-in for free at Cathedral Prep has had somewhat of an effect on the number of students who opt-in to AVI Foodsystems meals.
“[The number of students who choose to eat school lunch] has increased somewhat, not too much though. Hopefully, that will pick up again,” Chef Hale said. “Now with students being able to attend school daily, I hope that number will continue to increase.”
Anthony Nunez, a senior at Cathedral Prep, explained how rare AVI Foodsystems’ offer is compared to the history he has had at other Catholic schools.
“I have been attending Catholic schools for around six years, and they have never offered free lunch,” said Anthony. “It was really surprising to hear that I would be able to eat lunch for free. I definitely wasn’t expecting it.”
Anthony went on to tell of the impact free lunch has had on a friend of his and reinforces the company’s goal to support the student body of Cathedral Prep.
“My friend that I sit next to at lunch used to pack every day, but now he chooses to have the school lunch every single day,” Anthony said. “I’m sure that being able to eat for free has impacted him in some positive way. I think it’s a really nice gesture.”
“I feel that it’s a nice offering to the cathedral,” said Chef Hale. “It’s a benefit for [AVI Foodsystems], it’s a benefit for the students, and it’s furthering our partnership with Cathedral Prep because we plan to be here in two years when the new cafeteria gets built. I’m going to actually be above ground!”