Labor shortage hits CYSD hard


Photo by Daniel Shepard.

This lunch consists of a Philly cheesesteak, potato pierogies and mandarin oranges.

Daniel Shepard, Staff Writer


For the last few weeks, students at the Central York High School (CYHS) have been noticing a steady increase in changes to the lunch menu. Due to a nationwide labor shortage, many food production facilities have been affected, which hindered production. Currently, around 8.4 million Americans are unemployed, and as of July 2021, PA had a 6.6 percent unemployment rate. As of Sept. 30, 2021, there are 14 open cashier/cook positions open in the Central York School District (CYSD), some were even posted in June. 

While many students and parents assumed that the main reason for menu changes was a food shortage, this was not the case. 

“The root of the problem is staff shortages with the food distributors, suppliers, and truck drivers. This then results in a shortage of food items we can receive on a timely basis.” Emily Stump, the CYSD Food Services Director said.

Evidence of the staff shortage is noticeable at CYHS as well, as the cafeteria kitchen is no longer lined with cooks serving food as it was years ago. The kitchen staff has been somewhat stretched thin, and there are not as many cashier lines as there was last year. 

“At the high school, we had to substitute a main line menu item a few times. Usually, it would be substituting a chicken product with a different chicken product,” explained Stump, when asked about changing the lunch menu. 

Along with this substitution, CYHS has had trouble getting prepackaged food items, such as pancakes, Poptarts, cereal bars, deli meat, yogurt and potato products. Similar to the 2020-2021 school year, lunch and breakfast have been free for all students. 

“We are not sure if meals will continue to be free after this current school year. This is a program that is run through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and they will announce in the spring if the free meal program will continue,” said Stump relating to the future of the meal program at CYHS.

While no one is sure when this labor shortage will end, the school district along with food suppliers are working continuously to hire staff. In the meantime, CYSD has been working with food suppliers to order food in advance and to keep more food inventory in outside storage facilities. For now, all we can do is appreciate our kitchen and cafeteria staff for doing the great work they do every day.