Schools struggle to feed students despite supply chain issues
Wetumpka, Alabama – School officials across the country are scrambling to get food on student plates amid supply chain issues and labor shortages.
About 97% of school nutrition programs are concerned about lingering supply chain issues, according to a School Nutrition Association survey.
Cacyce Davis, who heads nutrition for schools in Elmore County, Alabama, has to feed about 8,000 children for breakfast and lunch five days a week. Delayed in regular school food delivery, Davis arrives at Sam’s Club for a last minute grocery run.
“It’s a quick fix for our meal tomorrow, but it’s not a solution to the problem,” she said. “There appear to be cracks at all points in the supply chain.”
Davis spent $ 1,500 on 180 pounds of roast beef for lunch the next day. She needed the beef tips, but the other cut was all she could find at Redland Elementary to serve.
To deal with the shortage, the district has set up a makeshift warehouse to store supplies in case the situation worsens. The staff had to learn to work with pallet trucks and elevators. Staff now work long hours, storing, packing and delivering food to schools that have not received their scheduled delivery.
“We will do our best to continue to serve,” said Davis.
The US Department of Agriculture has announced it will give $ 1.5 billion to help school systems struggling to serve meals. The agency will reimburse Elmore County for Davis’ grocery shopping.