BY KAYLA GATES
The CCHS cafeteria has created chaos for students and staff alike. A recent shortage of food service workers has left the remaining crew struggling to run the cafeteria in an efficient manner. A single herd of hangry students has since replaced the orderly lunch lines as servers struggle to distribute trays at a satisfactory speed.
The cafeteria congestion has proved problematic for students seeking to buy lunch. In addition to the area being overcrowded, many students spend a majority of their lunch period simply waiting in line. For those grabbing their trays just before the bell rings, finishing their food before the next class often proves to be a challenge.
“Most of the time I wait until the initial rush is done before getting in line,” senior Marek Covard said. “But I still find myself in line for the majority of lunch.”
The long lunch lines are no unfamiliar sight for students. Many make an effort to beat the lunch rush, dashing to the cafeteria at the sound of the bell before the line gets long. However, getting stuck at the back of an endless line of hungry students is often inevitable.
The student body has been particularly vocal in regards to their frustration. Some students have ignored the normal order altogether, cutting the line in an attempt to get their food faster. The result has been a mass of hangry students pushing and shoving their way to the front.
The CCHS cafeteria hasn’t always been so chaotic. In years past, lunch has been sold from four lines, two reserved for pizza and two for the rotating menu items. However, a sudden loss of staff members has forced the remaining cafeteria workers to close lines that cannot be properly run.
“In the last few weeks, we have only been able to open two lines, the main lines with everything there: the pizza, the sandwich [and] the main item,” food service manager Modestina Cariati said. “And it was a mess, but it is the only thing we can do.”
The staff shortage stemmed from the loss of three key employees. One cafeteria worker retired, while two others left for different jobs. The decrease in number has made it difficult for the remaining workers to cook, serve and ring up food while watching over the students in line.
Manager Cariati shares that a much-needed assistant manager position has remained empty for most of the year. However, a new employee is currently in the process of taking on this role and will soon be working a seven-hour day in the office alongside the manager.
“The kids get a little agitated because the line’s a little longer and they have to wait,” Cariati said. “We try our best to keep it up, but we don’t have enough people.”
Manager Cariati recognizes that the situation has improved. Two new hires have led to the opening of a third line, reserved only for pizza. This includes food service cook and baker Michael Yurkevich. However, Cariati is still looking to hire more employees, with the hopes of returning to four lines in the near future. She believes that this will help ease the situation.
The CCHS cafeteria staff has acknowledged the troubling situation but asks for students’ patience as they try their best to run the lunch lines while severely understaffed.
“These people work very hard every day, doing [the job of] two to three people,” Cariati said. “They put the food out for you guys the best they can, and we run it the best we can.”