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Cafeteria staffing shortage causes change to SLC Schools meal programs, cuts in food options

Posted at 8:42 PM, Apr 04, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-04 23:44:13-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Staffing shortages continue to hit school districts. A lack of school cafeteria employees is changing the Salt Lake City School District’s student meal programs and cutting food options.

“We have had such a difficulty with that this year,” said district spokesperson Yándry Chatwin. “We’ve even raised wages and we’re still not seeing a difference in the people applying to be child nutrition workers.”

Chatwin said almost all schools in the district are in desperate need of lunch help.

“These programs are especially crucial in a district like ours,” she said. “That means without these programs, students might not be getting the nutrition that they need at home.”

She said before this issue, cafeterias would have multiple lines complete with various food choices.

“Right now, we don’t have the staff to man that many lines, so we might see one or two options instead of the wide variety,” Chatwin said.

Schools across the state are battling this same issue. A spokesperson with the Canyons School District said teachers and principals have had to step up to take on extra lunch duties. They’re also paying for substitute lunch workers.

According to the Salt Lake City School District, its food nutrition department is understaffed by at least 30%. Canyons School District told FOX 13 News that they’re missing around 22% of workers. Alpine School District reports their department is 8% understaffed and the Granite School District said they are around 40% understaffed.

“We’re still feeding kids it’s just taking us a little more of a challenge to do it,” said Chatwin.

The Salt Lake City School District is now asking the community to step up and serve.

All volunteers have to do is fill out a form, pass a background check and an online food handler class.

“Even if you’re only able to one time, that still will make a difference that day to students and the stuff who have been working tirelessly throughout the pandemic,” said Chatwin.

For more details on how to help, click here.