Action Tips: Write a Letter to Change Your School's Dining Services

school lunch
DO THIS!
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  • PEOPLE DOING IT20

The Decision Maker

Tell someone in charge of your school's dining services to make a change before your health suffers. First, do some research to find out who makes the decision about which dining service gets a contract with your school. You could go to your principal or ask a teacher. If that doesn’t work, find the names of some members of the Board of Education on a school newsletter and try to call them.

Support

It’s important to make sure you have people who support your argument before you write your letter. It would be really helpful if you conducted a poll at lunch time. Pass out score sheets and have classmates score the cafeteria food they are eating. You can do this for a couple days or a week, whatever works.

Sample Survey

Please rate the cafeteria food you are eating now using the scale below. Rate the food based on taste, nutritional value and freshness. Score each food item from 1 (worst) to 5 (best).

Today's lunch Items Taste Nutrition Freshness
Tater Tots 12345 12345 12345
Cheeseburger 12345 12345 12345
Cherry Pie 12345 12345 12345
Comments

The results from this survey will help you figure out what your friends and classmates think about cafeteria lunch food. Most likely, they have complaints too.

For more on making a survey click here

Rough Draft

Jot down some of your thoughts first. It actually really helps to organize your thoughts in outline form, and then write a first draft before you move onto your final letter. Ask a friend or someone from your school paper to proofread your letter and give you feedback.

Finally

Remember to include the results from your survey in your final version. It might help to create a graph of ratings that clearly displays everyone’s dissatisfaction with the lunch menu.

Tips to remember while writing your letter:

  • Get to the point- state your case in the first paragraph.
  • Be pleasant- no one wants to respond to a completely negative letter.
  • Keep it natural- take on a conversational tone and make sure sentences aren't too long.
  • End with action- suggest to the reader what their next steps should be.
  • Presentation is key- make sure there are no spelling mistakes or weird formatting issues.

Time on your hands

Everyone is busy. Don’t worry if you don’t get a response right away. If you haven’t heard back in about two weeks, go ahead and call the office to see if your letter was received.

Keep in mind that your school might have to finish out the current contract with the dining service. This means that you might have to wait a while to see a change. Keep in contact with the decision maker and the Board of Education during this time. Be persistent.