In September, the USDA allocated $1.5 billion to help struggling school meal programs
As school meal programs face food shortages and huge delays in supplies, authorities may be forced to limit students’ breakfast and lunch options.
It is the latest phase of a supply chain crisis that has gripped the US economy for months.
In Ohio, supply tensions have prompted employees at Akron Public Schools to take a second look at their lunch menus—where there used to be five different meal options each day, there are now only two.
Supply chain crisis due to shortage of food, supplies in schools across the country
“It’s not easy to get that much of a product,” said nutrition services specialist Ryan Faulk. “I am not saying that we do not have food to serve, it is the most difficult thing to transport from one place to another in the country.”
Fresh produce and plastic trays are just a few of the things that Faulk told Granthshala Business that he’s been getting harder to find since the school year began. A school district warehouse in Akron holds up to a week’s worth of food and supplies, which Faulk says helps when planning delays.
“Something that used to take you a day or two to get there is now two to three weeks ahead
Recently in a school nutrition association Survey Many of the more than 1,300 school meal program directors shared Faulk’s fears. The survey found that 97% of school nutrition leaders were concerned about supply chain issues; 90% were concerned about the staff shortage.
“Schools are really struggling when there’s a lack of what they’ve promised,” said association spokeswoman Diane Pratt-Hevner.
In schools across the country, Pratt-Hevner said meal program directors have found creative ways to distribute missed meals.
“They’re reordering items, they’re finding local vendors, they’re also running to the local restaurant depot’s Kosto to get the supplies they need for food,” Hever said. “So there may be fewer options for students in the cafeteria as schools work through these supply chain issues.”
To ease supply tensions in Akron, Faulk said the district is working with some manufacturers willing to increase quantities of much-needed items later this year.
In September, the USDA allocated $1.5 billion to help struggling school meal programs.
“It will be great in December, which doesn’t fix it for the rest of October through November,” Folk said. “Those are the kind of conversations we’re trying to have with everyone else to tame the hits we’re taking right now, so it’s not long-term for the rest of the school year.”