Supply Chain Shortages Hit School Cafeterias
Hamilton County School Board looked at how much food students are really getting
Near the the beginning of Monday’s Hamilton County School Board meeting, board member Jenny Hill commented that, “It’s rough out there.”
It wasn’t about who would become the new superintendent, or about what books should be in the classroom and libraries. This was about how much or how little food students get to eat for lunch at school.
Jenny Hill, Hamilton County School Board, District 6, said, “We have hungry children in our schools, so what can we do if there’s a shortage of uncrustables? Where do we just get bread and peanut butter?”
Dr. Justin Robertson, Interim Deputy Superintendent, Hamilton County School District, said, “In terms of getting, you know, their meat, vegetable, fruit, milk, all the standard staples, that should be taking place in every school, and if it’s not, we need to know about it so we can go address it with those cafeterias.”
Tucker McClendon, Hamilton County School Board Chair, said, “For a lot of kids, it’s the only hot meal they’ll get a day, and, so, it’s part of our duty and we’re working through that facing the national crisis that we are with supply chain. It’s one of the things that’s been a challenging time during COVID.”
The supply chain issues we’ve seen in grocery stores are hitting schools just as hard, forcing many districts, including Hamilton County, to get creative with school lunch menus.
Jenny Hill read one parent’s email verbatim. “The real lunch they’re promising is yogurt, a cheese stick and saltines. Cheez-Its. That’s the actual lunch they’re being promised.”
Robertson commented by saying, “That can’t be right…”
Tucker McClendon said, “Our staff, our operations team and our school nutrition team are working through it, and hopefully we’ll get to a break, we’ll kind of work our way through those, be able to stockpile some food and open the new year 100 percent.”
The school board says all students in Hamilton County will be fed. The biggest issue is trust with parents. If the county can’t consistently deliver the food they promised would be on school menus, parents might not trust it to provide any meal at all.