Dad’s Negative Lunch Photo Serves Up Positive Changes in Upstate NY School
When life gives you lemons you're supposed to make lemonade. What happens when life gives you a school lunch barely big enough for a bird? You make positive changes for better options. That's what one Upstate New York father of four is doing.
Chris Vangellow has four children who attend Parishville-Hopkinton Central School District. His 16-year-old son has been sending pictures of the lunches he has been served at school in recent months, telling him it's not enough food. Vangellow shared the photo of 4 chicken nuggets, a handful of dry carrots, plain white rice, and fat-free chocolate milk on Facebook where it quickly went viral. "This really is ridiculous," Vangellow said.
People started reaching out from all across the country showing their support. "Some say their school lunches are nothing like that while others say how happy they are that it is getting attention because they have the same problem," said Vengellow.
The district Superintendent William Collins also responded in a public message on Parishville-Hopkinton Central School District’s website to address the school lunch concerns.
The concerns expressed clearly resonated with students and parents as evidenced by the number of comments and shares. In fairness to the cafeteria, students are allowed one more serving of fruits or vegetables and one additional nugget than appeared in the photograph; however, this doesn’t alter the message that many students and parents are dissatisfied with school lunches.
Superintendent Collins is working with the Cafeteria Manager to form a group to address the dissatisfaction with school meals and make meals more appetizing while still meeting strict USDA requirements of the National School Lunch Progam.
In addition to the Cafeteria Manager and me, this working group will be made up of concerned students (4) and parents (4) along with a representative from the Wellness Committee.
Vangellow and his son have volunteered to be a part of that group and help make positive changes in the cafeteria. "I know our Superintendent is working hard to make a difference."
Several companies have also reached out to Vangellow to see what they can do to help. "I have reached out to Superintendent Collins to talk more and try to get these companies that have contacted me in touch with him as well."