Riley Toye: Denied school lunches


This letter is written to the community of Steamboat Springs on behalf of myself and other students at Soda Creek Elementary School. My name is Riley Toye, and I am in the fourth grade. I would like to inform everyone of what is happening at my school regarding our school lunch program.

Kids are not being fed lunch if they have charged more than two times ($6.50). I am one of many children who have recently been declined a lunch. My friends and I watched the lunch ladies decline kindergartners their lunch and saw the awful look on their faces before they started to cry. There were at least 10 kids in the fourth grade who the school would not feed that day.

I feel it is not right to let a child go hungry, especially when it is not their fault. Also, when the lunch lady told me I would not be allowed to eat, she didn't say it nicely. No one should ever be talked to like that, especially in front of their friends.

Many of my friends (I made a list of them) agree with me, and one is even helping me bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school for the kids who don't have anything to eat. This letter is only to inform everyone of what is going on at my school, because I don't think it is right.

Riley Toye

Steamboat Springs


eastboy 8 years, 2 months ago

I could be wrong but it sounds like the school board didn't cross their T's and dot their I's. Was a prepratory letter sent to all parents? In time? Was a perhaps more realistic figure$$ considered[ 1 week$$]. Was an "emergency" plan discussed? If so, shame on your parents Riley. If NOT, SHAME on the school board.


Scott Wedel 8 years, 2 months ago

Letters were sent home with kids, but it was more along the lines that there was a problem with negative balances. It was not personalized to say what was your child's current balance. And many parents were surprised to have charges because apparently no one was making any effort to stop or inform parents of kids that had brought a lunch to school were also buying lunch for themselves or friends.

And it was a big shift in policy from allowing large negative balances to just $6 or no lunch. It basically went from a credit card with a monthly balance to a prepaid card. Maybe it was not supposed to be a credit card, but that is what they were allowing until they cut the kids off.

There is simply no excuse for an elementary school kid to be surprised that they will be denied lunch that day. Somebody with a brain would have said that we will feed the little kids, put another note and tell the kid to tell their parents that they need to catch up and not deny lunch to any elementary school kid until talking to the parent and being sure that lunch is being provided (ie deny hot lunch because kid is being given a bag lunch) while denying HS kids (who are better able to help themselves) and the news will filter down fast enough

What is apparent from comments by food services and the superintendent is that money matters more surprised kids not getting a lunch on one fateful day.


LLM 8 years, 2 months ago

Dear Riley,

You have the makings of a leader. Rather than sitting by the sidelines, you take action. Someday, when you are one of our congresspeople and I am the little old lady in the nursing home, please remember that I was on your side and do not cut off my social security benefits or medicare.

Lorraine Morrison


arnonep 8 years, 2 months ago

Do you really think any of these kids's health or welfare was endangered?


Duke_bets 8 years, 2 months ago

This is truly being blown way out of proportion.

The letter was obviously prompted by Riley's parents. And, I believe grade schoolers were offered pbj sandwiches.

Hey parents, pay your debts and the kiddies won't be held responsible. Numerous notices were sent that got ignored. The old policy didn't work, so it was changed. Big Deal!


Cat 8 years, 2 months ago

While I certainly get that the bottom line is always the almighty dollar, it seems rather cruel to tell a 5 year old they cannot have lunch. If parents were notified, why were so may denied not prepared with a sack lunch?

Someone dropped the ball, but 5 year olds...there is no excuse.


playa46 8 years, 2 months ago

Riley- Thank-you for the well informed letter. You show how even fourth graders can have a say in many things. While I did not go hungry, I want to tell you to keep at what you are doing, and that experience gives you a lot to look forward to in life.

As for everyone, did anyone realize there is another way to get rid of this crisis? Cash, in my opinion works rather well, it gets you food quicker and faster. I always find myself waiting in line because someone in front of me is in debt and is discussing the terms to a lunch lady. The account system makes people careless with there money. Paying in cash makes sure that people have enough money, that people don't go into debt and makes sure that there is no whole crisis. Pay with cash people, it can make you more responsible with your money.


Gaylan Hellyer 8 years, 2 months ago

<p> You can deposit money, check balances, see when they charge and sign up for low balance notices to be emailed to you. It's easy. Otherwise sign up for the free or discounted lunch program. And when they charge, their name and picture pops up to verify that the right kids are using the right accounts. At least it does at the elementary school.

I agree that the timing was bad and things could have been handled differently but it was a problem and they had to get the parents attention somehow.


DEBORAH3121 8 years, 2 months ago

Lets look a the facts... Kids went without lunch. Either way you look at it, it's just not right. I believe social services would investigate parents for not feeding their kids. Why should we punish the kids for a parents irresponsibilty?


freerider 8 years, 2 months ago

LETTERS were not sent home with the kids...I have two girls at Soda Creek and I didn't hear about this till it was in the paper...I think since it's such a big problem for the schools why don't they just shut down the cafeteria...the food sucks we pack lunches now...If everyone packs a lunch then we don't need the school food and the cafeteria workers can stay home


Duke_bets 8 years, 2 months ago

freerider - Your kids evidently didn't have deficient balances in their accouts, or you send lunch everyday.

The problem was solved without your input.


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