Healthy Snack Bar set to return with minor changes

Bare. Empty. The bowls disappear first, the ice inside them not even leaving behind water trails. The table then vanishes, and the brilliant green sign with the words “KFC Healthy Snack Bar” quickly follows. Now, not a trace remains but a deserted spot in the gymnasium’s office, barren as the hearts of the students it broke.

That was the scene two months ago when our Physical Education Coach Mary Bailey closed the healthy snack bar due to an anonymous letter regarding the sanitation of the fruits and smoothies sold to us, the student body. However, since then, life has steadily crept back to the bar. The alcove still remains vacant, but inside a drawer between the two wooden teachers’ desks lies a collection of tea bags. From Blackcurrant to Strawberry Sensation, the choices continue on. It may not be much compared to the colorful array of watermelons, bananas, and pita bread of before, but it is a definite starting point.

According to Bailey, the Harris County Health Department has already sanctioned the return of the healthy snack bar. Now, it is only a matter of time before she reopens the snack bar with a few minor changes. Some labels on the food here and there, a framed convenience store permit hanging on the wall authorizing the sales, and naturally, a new employee.

Well, the “minor” changes are partially true. The first two alterations can be easily accomplished. The main problem lies in the necessity of hiring a new worker with a Food Handler Permit to prepare the food.

The inclusion of an extra salary will undoubtedly raise the food prices. How much is still to be determined, but the increase in expenses could potentially lead to a drop in sales. Students and teachers will still stop by for the fresh tastes of cubed fruits, but they might buy in less quantity or less often than before. And that in itself defeats the bar’s original purpose: to improve the students’ diets by providing a ready stream of fresh and nourishing food.

However, we believe that the higher prices will be a trivial sacrifice for having the snack bar back. Yes, there will undeniably be students and staff who are dissatisfied with the price change, but not to the extent that it will greatly impair the healthy snack bar. A steady stream of customers will still flock in, because almost everyone adores the healthy snack bar, even the health official who worked on Bailey’s case.

Freshmen who miss the school breakfast because they were tired from their previous all-nighters would drop by the healthy snack bar. Sophomores who can’t yet enjoy the senior privilege of off-campus lunch would also stop by the healthy snack bar. Juniors who skipped lunch to finish their AP English III essay or to study for the APUSH tests would wander to the healthy snack bar. Seniors, having adjusted to the bar’s food, would frequently come by. Even now, students still meander in for the occasional water bottle or hot cup of tea.

But you know what? We’re still upset that this situation happened at all. Bailey may not be legally qualified to handle the snack bar, but no mishaps have occurred under her supervision of the bar. It has never given anyone food poisoning or Ebola. A single anonymous complaint tarnished that credibility.  It is disheartening how people assume the worst of her, a physical education teacher who has a background in nutrition. All of that screams just how much she cares for the well-being of her students; how could she possibly be seen as anything else?

According to the complaint, the parent does not even have a child attending Kerr. The writer claimed that there were flies around the food and sweat dripping off of the coaches during the food preparation. But of all the times we have been at the bar, we have never seen such a thing. We can’t really blame the writer of the complaint though; eyewitness statements are reputed to be unreliable. No in-depth knowledge of the food preparation was offered. We wish this person had seen the long lines of students eagerly lined up to purchase healthy food, something many adults would not believe could happen.

Earlier in the year, we discovered that due to the new nutritional guidelines, most of our beloved junk food sold by various clubs vanished. It was a terrible tragedy, but you know what saved the day? The healthy snack bar. And it addressed what the new guidelines wanted us to do: be healthier.

For a while, we adapted to the changing nutritional guidelines. Fine, take away our hot FunYuns, our Coca-Colas, and our KitKats. We didn’t care, Bailey provided healthy and delicious alternatives for our infinitely hungry teenage selves … at reasonable prices. Two water bottles for a dollar? Good-bye, vending machines. It is disappointing that now, prices will inevitably rise due to Bailey’s new assistant, but naturally, we are also ecstatic that the snack bar is coming back. However, we firmly believe all this drama should not have occurred in the first place.

Although the snack bar has only begun last year, it was well on its way to becoming a beloved tradition of the school, right next to the Alphabet Auction, Pie-in-the-face, and Senior Parade. This time, we hope, it’ll truly have a permanent place within Kerr.