By J1 Reporter Tyler Raikar
Ah, Marian lunches. Who doesn’t enjoy a cool bowl of swirl ice cream topped with the famous soft trio of cookies? Or their beloved orange chicken days, served with that enchanting sweet n’ sour sauce? The only factor Marian students seem not to be so delighted about are the prices for lunches and á la cartes. To fully grasp the reason behind the pricing, it’s not a matter of who sets the prices, but rather understanding the control of demand and supply within the lunch system.
Marian’s lunches are currently run by everyone’s favorite lunch man, Tim Eoratti. When realized, it is incredible to see the amount of work he must keep up with every day to prepare lunches and ensure every student has access to a hearty meal. He puts his own funding and outside time toward improving lunches. One would think the school easily funds and provides for all the ingredients and kitchen essentials for Eoratti and his staff to use. In actuality, Eoratti brings in his own pots and pans from home and orders and buys the food items himself.
Eoratti’s wife, Denise, and the other cafeteria workers also deserve a salary for their hard work in the kitchen. Each of them are paid from Eoratti as an indirect appreciation toward their dedication and help in bettering the Marian community. Without their help, Marian’s lunches would cease to exist.
Marian does not follow the USDA public school lunches since it is a private institution. USDA, or the United States Department of Agriculture, provides low-cost meals to children in public or nonprofit private schools each day. The schools that associate with this program do not have to buy the student’s lunches and must follow their meal plans. Because Marian stands separate from the department, it influences the lunch prices solely to benefit Marian’s lunch program. No wonder why we are blessed with those delectable cookie sundaes!
One of Marian’s other mealtime classics underwent a serious supply loss. If you noticed the price of chicken tenders rising up, it is due to the bird flu budget hit. The source that Marian buys their chickens from had 5 million of their chickens die because of a recent bird flu outbreak. As a result, the prices of chicken and eggs rose, and the only way for Marian to keep chicken on the menu is if students paid just a tad higher for this food menu item. Two years ago, a case of chicken would be $35. The bird-flu caused it to rise to $46. And that is just chicken alone. Other demand and supply issues have increased the prices of pork, bacon, breadsticks, pasta, and so forth.
Students are oblivious to what alters the school lunch prices primarily because they only see their lunch meal as the only item they’re paying for. Many other factors that Marian and Eoratti have no control over also influence the prices of school lunches. After the rise and fall of Covid-19, lunch prices increased from its effects. Covid-19 made ingredients much more difficult to obtain because there is less supply of particular items. Recent national inflation also exacerbated the shipment and payment.
The next time you walk through the lunch line, rather than only focusing on lunch prices, take a moment to appreciate how much diligence and hard work Eoratti puts in every day to ensure the Marian community is fed and cared for.