Heartland school districts face food supply issues

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 9:46 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) -Dozens of Heartland school districts are facing a supply shortage that is directly impacting the kids.

Right now they are not receiving the food deliveries they depend.

Wholesale suppliers blame a shortage of workers and with limited supplies the districts are being charged more for what they buy.

We spoke with the head of Nutrition Services for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education about the problem earlier this afternoon.

”We are contacting our state government officials on the issue and USCA is aware of the issue so were hoping that we receive guidance but were also trying to work together as a state. Were encouraging the food service directors and the school administrators to contact parents and let them know what’s going on and maybe how they can help,” said Barbara Shaw.

Meantime local school districts face the daily challenge of providing children with the nutritious meals they need to help them learn.

”We serve about 7,000 meals a day and that’s roughly about 3200 for breakfast about 3400 for lunch,” said Dana McClard, heads up food services manager for Cape Public Schools.

Those meals must go on despite a supply shortage impacting school districts across the region.

“I do believe that we will struggle to get products all year from suppliers just because of manufacture issues and our suppliers are having trouble getting products but I think it’ll probably be maybe four or five weeks before we see our truck delivery start back up,” said McClard.

McClard says right now, they’re having a hard time getting in large shipments of fruits and vegetables.

Meantime, her cafeteria staff’s doing their best to work with what’s already available.

“We’re just going in there and seeing what we have and trying to put it all together something different for them,” said Libby Jansen, cafeteria worker.

“We’re just sitting and trying to make menus the best we can with what’s available,” said McClard

Cafeteria worker Libby Jansen says that new approach turned into this new menu item.

“Today we made a street taco, I was looking through a recipe book the other night and I talked with our head cook. We had black beans, corn, salsa, the diced chicken and so we made a street taco,” said Jansen.

McClard says they appreciate all the local suppliers and grocery stores that have already offered to help.

“Were just hoping to be able to continue to provide free breakfast and lunch to our students. We know that that is super important to our families and to our students. So ultimately our goal is just to make sure our kids are being fed food that they like and nutritious meals,” said McClard.

The state’s Food and Nutrition Services Coordinator tells us they are giving schools flexibility to adjust menus during the supply shortage.

They’re also offering emergency help to districts that need it.

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