District 49 faces shortage of food service workers

Posted at 8:02 PM, Aug 09, 2021

COLORADO SPRINGS — As the school year gets underway for students in Falcon School District 49, they're faced with a huge problem.

"Well the first couple days of school, the first day specifically, they didn't get anything to eat because the lines were so long. Then on the second day when they got up to the line, the only thing left out of all the choices was a small piece of meat and milk," said Jennette Godbold, District 49 parent.

She's a mother of four and says her children have been having trouble getting food during lunchtime.

"I have a sixth, seventh, and eighth-grader and they all have different lunchtimes and it seems like the shortage covered all lunchtimes," said Godbold.

The district says the problem is due to the pandemic.

"Since the world changed due to COVID-19, we had a lot of our staff who had to resign from their position. Most are stay-at-home parents so they're working during the school day when the kids won't miss anything. When we sent kids to at-home learning, my staff had to stay home and help their kids," said Monica Deines-Henderson, Director of Nutrition Services at Falcon School District 49.

She says the staff shortage is having a significant impact on lunchtime.

"We have had to adjust what kind of offerings we give our kids these days, just because we don't have the staff to prep or the people to do servings in adequate times," said Deines-Henderson.

The situation slowly improving.

"People are re-applying so that's positive. The downside is that we are still down 26 percent at school base," said Deines-Henderson. "One of our high schools has two staff members assigned there. Normally we carry eight to ten people there."

The district says they haven't received reports of students going without meals. They're encouraging community members to apply to nutrition services through its website.