By Elizabeth Smith
It’s fifth period. You’re sitting in the main hall, eating a chicken sandwich and talking with your friends. Everything is going well—until you realize that you forgot to pack your snack. After bribing a friend by promising a portion of the food, you drag that friend down the art hall to the vending machine by the West Gym. Excited to get those veggie chips you’ve been craving all morning, you impatiently provide the machine with a crumpled dollar bill. But something goes terribly wrong: the machine rejects your money. After realizing that the vending machines don’t open until 3:30, you walk shamefully back to the main hall, defeated, empty-handed, and still hungry.
Although a likely scenario during the first quarter of this school year, not having access to the vending machines during the school day is no longer something to worry about thanks to the efforts of Student Government. President Shrinath Viswanathan said, “I met with the Director of Food Services, and she said she would remove the timer on the vending machines. The timer was required due to the contract they had with the supplier. She was really cooperative.”
Viswanathan learned from his discussion with Director of Food & Nutrition Services Patricia Daley-Jimenez that the main reason for the timers was because of United States Department of Agriculture nutrient requirements with which all schools must comply. For snacks sold in the vending machines in our school, the standards are as follows: less than or equal to 200 calories, 230 mg of sodium, 35% of calories toward fat, and 35% of weight from total sugars. Ms. Daley-Jimenez said that as long as we follow these United States Department of Agriculture regulations, there will be no issue with removing the timer. She said, “Items that do not comply with the regulations cannot be sold until 30 minutes after school dismissal. The vending company was contacted to stock the machines with items that meet the regulation, and since GNPS Lunch Fund receives the commissions, the timers can be eliminated.”
Rest assured that you will never have to worry about going hungry again in school. All it takes is a dollar and the motivation to walk to either the East or West Gym vending machine to satisfy your snack-time cravings.