More Morgan students are getting lunch this year because lunch is free for all students in America. At the beginning of the year, about 75 students were pre-ordering their lunch online. This number has dropped to about 30 students every day because students are now able to just walk up and get their lunch. With about 180 students in the cafeteria for each lunch, the staff can be overwhelmed behind the scenes.
Food Services Director Jon Siciliano explained that all the schools in the Clinton Public School District are short-staffed in their cafeterias. This may not seem like a big deal, but it is the reason we do not have the iced teas and chips in the coolers. They cannot have these snacks and drinks out if there is no one to man the register. The shortage of workers does not only stop in the cafeteria. The companies that bring us produce don’t have enough drivers to drive the produce, so Mr. Siciliano has had to make 3 trips this year to Wallingford to get produce for us to have at school. These supply chain issues are not unique to Clinton.
When it comes to salads, there is a lot to talk about. Because of the shortage of workers who pick the produce and drive the produce to school, there has been a shortage of salads. With 180 students in each lunch, 6-8 salads are not enough. Many students have been complaining that salads run out within the first 5 minutes of the lunch period. Mr. Siciliano said that they can only make about 20 salads a day, and to be fair, they have to divide the salads to make certain some are available for each lunch. Mr. Siciliano agreed that adding salads to the student order forms could help this issue. He will add salads to the online order form so that they can be ordered ahead. This will start on Friday, November 19th of 2021.
Mr. Siciliano also explained that the lunch staff puts in their orders every Wednesday for Thursday delivery. Recently, the orders have not only been coming in on the next Thursday (a week late), but they have not all been correct. This is why the cafeteria may have to serve a different lunch than the one listed on the lunch form.
All the issues are not solvable. One of these is everyone’s favorite: chocolate donuts that were available for breakfast. Mr. Siciliano ensured me that he calls about three times a week to see if they have started making the chocolate donuts again, but they haven’t since September.
Combatting the long line in the cafeteria is going to take a while. The lunch ladies do their best to be quick in the line, but they are too understaffed to have another section of the café open to serve lunch. However, the lunch ladies do start plating lunches about 5 minutes before the bells ring, so they can quickly get the students their lunch every day.