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Bentonville High School group ensures no one eats lunch alone

The goal of the group is to make sure no one has to eat lunch alone.

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — There will be no more lonely lunches, thanks to teachers and students working together to ensure students have a group to sit with during lunch hour. ‘Food and fun with friends’ is a new, weekly lunch meeting at Bentonville High School.

“The first day of school I can and sat in the lunch, cafeteria and I sat at a circle table and I was literally the one person sitting there in the entire room and no one came over. Not that anyone is mean necessarily, but it is definitely a different environment to try and immerse yourself in without that community,” said Izabell Wright.

This was last year when now sophomore, Izabell Wright was new to Bentonville high. This year, her leadership development teacher shared the idea of starting a group to give students who don’t know anyone a place to eat lunch and meet new people. And Izabell jumped on board.

“I think it’s important that we normalize the stigma around not having a friend group. Like it’s important to know that not everyone is going to have those cliches or those people that they naturally just blend in with. So, it’s important to include people in our friend groups even though they might not immediately fit in,” she said.

Kelli Moore teaches leadership development. She says the idea came about after she and other teachers saw a post in a mom group on Facebook from a Bentonville High student mom who was new to town. That mom was heartbroken her child was having to sit alone. The goal of ‘food and fun with friends’ is to ensure everyone feels like they have a place to go come lunchtime.

“We’d planned it that way and then thought well maybe it’s not so much that a student is brand new and doesn’t know anyone, but I could be with our three different lunch periods that maybe this semester their friends are at a different lunch, and they just need someone else to sit with,” said Moore.

Moore says their first lunch meeting was this Tuesday (Sept. 27) and 11 students showed up and they are hoping even more come next week.

“Eventually, the idea would be that these students that are by themselves at lunch for whatever reason, they find their group and then the need for what we have to offer is not a need anymore,” she said.

‘Food and fun with friends’ will meet again for lunch on Tuesday, October 4 during all three lunches.

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