Where Did the Muffins Go?


Mclernan hopes to bring back many popular treats to Western lunch.

Claire McMahon, Sports Editor

Where did Western’s muffins go? Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Western had a grab-and-go system with a variety of food and drink options. The school had a diverse range of options including pretzels, Naked smoothies, ice cream, salads, sparkling water, coffee, muffins, and Switch sodas available before school, during TAB, and at lunch.

 The COVID-19 shutdown had an immediate impact on the school’s food options. Today, like the rest of the world, Western is slowly returning to normal. Masks are optional, social distancing is gone, and lunch costs money again, but the question remains: Where are the muffins and why haven’t they returned with the rest of lunch? 

Food service manager Richard McLernan says that it’s not a lack of funding preventing the return of many beloved choices, but rather a lack of staff, which he accredits to the pandemic. He explained they only have two cashiers and three kitchen assistants. Because of this, McLernan decided to start the year off slowly in order to ease the demand on the five kitchen staff.

“Last week I had two people out with COVID, there were only three of us so we’ve just been stressed.” With no other person to run the additional register, the grab-and-go system remains a glorified storage closet. 

After doing this job for 17 years, McLernan knows a thing or two about Western’s students. 

“What’s sad is that most of the time in my past years, by the time kids were seniors, I knew them by name.” 

He feels the pandemic took away a lot of things from Western’s students and staff. The 2023 graduating class had just started their high school career when the grab-and-go system was shut down. 

“It’s not Western without muffins,” senior Meghan Hundley said. Her friend, Annika Beenhakker remembered their time as freshman. “They’re delicious,” she said.  “It brought the community together.  Everyone knew about the muffins.”

McLernan understands the appreciation for the school’s muffins, as well as its other options. “When it’s open I can sell ice cream, pretzels, switch drinks, Naked smoothies, and everything.” said McLernan. He plans on continuing the grab-and-go system as soon as he is able to hire two more people.