BY TAYLOR DESMOND
Within the past couple of months, the food service department placed two vending machines outside of the CHS cafeteria in order to offer food to students during all times of the day, and while this is great for student-athletes who don’t have time to go get other food before practice or games, the metal cages surrounding the vending machines make their contents difficult to view.
“They’re convenient in that they are outside…because the previous ones had been inside the cafeteria,” CHS activities coordinator Aubrey Powers says. “The only problem is that [the cage is] a ginormous barricade, and it’s really hard to see what is in there.”
The machines were previously located just inside of the doors of the cafeteria, the need for the metal protection sheets not being a major concern. However, the idea occurred after the food service department began observing students tipping the machines.
Denise McGregor, the district’s food service supervisor, also disagrees with the type of protective casing chosen.
“I’m not a big fan of the red doors,” McGregor says. “Food service didn’t pick them.”
According to McGregor, the cage is in place for primarily two reasons: members of the public breaking into the machines at night and student safety.
“We were afraid [they were] going to fall on them and actually hurt them,” McGregor says.
McGregor and Steven Russell, the art teacher at CHS, came up with one possible solution to the cage obstruction problem: They want to take a photograph of the contents inside the machines and put them on the doors. While this wouldn’t address the issue of what happens when they change one of their contents, it would fix the current and more concerning obstruction issue.
The vending machine cost is minimal in order to maintain them. They benefit the food service department because their contents consist of items already provided at the cafeteria, and the machines already belonged to the food service department.
McGregor is currently open to receiving food suggestions from CHS students to stock the vending machines. The last time something was suggested and wasn’t bought frequently enough, she just didn’t stock the vending machines with it anymore, according to McGregor.
“[McGregor] polled the class about what kind of snacks [students want] and all the snacks have to meet regulations and the federal standards,” Powers says.
Currently the vending machines offer items such as chips and salsa, doughnuts, Doritos, Sun Chips, brownies, Rice Krispies and many more other drink and snack options. Everything in the machines meets federal standards and regulations, and are packaged appropriately for the school environment, according to Powers.
The motive behind putting the vending machines outside was accomplished, since ASB wanted to be able to allow student-athletes to buy things while the cafeteria is closed. Students with free periods or ones who come to school early without eating breakfast also visit the vending machines regularly.
“It’s nice that they are open when the cafeteria is closed,” junior Dillan Chiewpanich explains.
Like countless other students at Carmel High School, Chiewpanich uses the vending machines to escape the lines of the cafeteria. It can take up to five minutes of waiting in line to get the more limited meals offered there, and the vending machines offer countless types of food more conveniently.
During the first week of November, only one of the vending machines was open. The cafeteria has been in possession of the vending machines since 2005, but they’ve never attracted students as much as they do now.
After having an overwhelming success rate, the second machine was stocked immediately and available to students as well.