School lunches become the newest product facing a shortage during the pandemic

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 4:40 AM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Food for school lunches has become the newest item facing shortages after supply chain issues related to the pandemic. The shortage is affecting schools across the country, along with schools in eastern Iowa like the Anamosa Community School District.

In Anamosa, students will still have enough food to eat in the cafeteria. But, the previously made menu might suddenly change. For example, melon cups might become apple slices. However, some schools across the country are facing not having enough food.

Dr. Katie Wilson, who is the executive director for the Urban School Food Alliance, said the cause for the shortage are schools aren’t the priority when the supply is squeezed since schools pay the lowest amount possible for food through a bidding process. She said this results in contractors canceling contracts.

”So, if you are going to put out one or two trucks for every twenty,” Dr. Wilson said. “You’re going to put the people who give you the highest profit margin on that trucks. And that only makes sense because you’re trying to recover from a hospitality industry that crashed and burned during the pandemic.”

The United States Department of Agriculture runs the school lunch program. It’s sending schools $1.5 Billion to help schools buy healthier foods. Tammy Seeley, who is the nutrition services director for the Anamosa Community School District, said it emailed parents a notice explaining the shortage to give a heads up to parents who have kids that are picky eaters.

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