The catering company who provides lunches and snacks to many schools and daycare centers in Turku is going on strike on Monday and Tuesday. This impending action has resulted in a flurry of messages from the girls’ school and Sterling’s päiväkoti, informing us parents that our kids will need to bring their own lunches to school on those days. Gasp! There have been multiple messages, all increasingly urgent and apologetic, and the last few have even included tips and ideas for packing these school lunches. Finland provides free hot lunches to schoolchildren as a kind of basic right, and so the idea of that not happening for two days is a big deal.
I packed lunches for my kids for years before we moved to Finland and yet I found myself running around the grocery store this afternoon like a chicken with its head cut off. I can’t remember how to do this! We don’t even own lunchboxes anymore! The assumption in the messages I’ve received from the school seems to be that we’ll pack something hot, in a thermos container. Hot lunch is SUCH a thing in Finland, and it looks like that applies even for just a day or two when the cafeterias are down.
Still, I think we’ll go American style and do sandwiches and sliced veggies and fruits. Universal free hot lunch at school is a prized marker of equality here, so it will be interesting to hear from the kids what their friends bring for lunch!