Supply shortage has schools improvising lunch menus

Feb 23, 2022, 7:59 PM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:51 pm

Nutrition services managers with Davis County School District keep a running tally of what supplies and foods are missing.

It’s how the staff gets a clear picture of what menu plans are going to need some quick changes.

The director here for Davis County, Natalie Bradford, says it means a lot of added stress, as the plans are constantly changing.

“So right now you can see that we’ve got a list of paper goods,” Bradford said. “This has been really important for us to be able to see, because a lot of the food items that we serve, we need to have specialized containers for them.”

That means sometimes they can’t even serve some of the foods they do have.

Natalie Bradford shows KSL TV the board her staff keeps of current supply shortages affecting their menus. (KSL TV)

“So… the menu’s changing at a moment’s notice, yeah,” Bradford said. “But, it’s also stressful out in the schools because they aren’t getting the product that they thought they were.”

It’s like pieces of a puzzle. They also have to fulfill certain nutrition standards.

“Out creativity is being stretched,” she said.

Bradford says they’ve been able to keep up with all of those required standards, except for one right now.

“We’re having a really hard time getting milk right now,” she said. “The dairy that we purchase from is having as hard of time with labor and supply chain issues as we are.”

Bradford says they are able to file for a waiver of the nutrition standards, due to the current challenges.

District-wide, Bradford says they have 73 openings in nutrition services. Add to that, the fact that schools are feeding more kids than before during the pandemic, with universal free lunch.

Food supplies at Davis County School District. (KSL TV)

“This is something we’re seeing all across the state and all across the nation,” she said.

But Bradford says aside from the milk issue, they are getting by. The menus just aren’t as varied as they’d like.

And they’ll continue to do what they can knowing the shortages won’t last forever.

“But we really appreciate that parents have been so supportive,” Bradford added. “Without that parent support, it would be a lot harder to do what we’re doing.”

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Supply shortage has schools improvising lunch menus