The Biden administration’s failure to successfully fight the coronavirus and the ensuing supply chain crisis has trickled down to school cafeterias, as food workers struggle to get meals for students on the table.
In Oakland County, Michigan, Sara Simmerman, a food and nutrition supervisor, said the district is still getting Little Caesars pizzas for its 8,600 students, but the rest of the supplies it needs are stalled.
A satellite kitchen got only 35 of 400 cases of food it had ordered at one point. A few days later, 700 cases arrived on one day.
“You never know what you’re going to get,” Simmerman said. “It’s amazing how many kids want to eat salad when you don’t have lettuce.”
The Guardian reported on the unprecedented lack of supplies for U.S. consumers, the media outlet advancing the Biden administration narrative that the supply chain issue is global, thus not the failure of White House policies:
Like most districts across the country, Huron Valley is facing unprecedented food and labor shortages caused by what supply chain experts say is nearing a “global transport systems collapse.” Experts say as the economy reopened after lockdowns, many industries – including those involved in delivering food and supplies to schools – have faced increased demand they can’t meet.
Many predict the backlog of orders could extend throughout the rest of the school year. Forced to adapt their meal programs to a grab-and-go system last year when schools shut down for remote learning, school nutrition departments are now scrambling to find menu items and enlisting front office staff and school administrators to serve meals. They’re adapting their menus almost daily, depending on deliveries, and putting off equipment purchases to make up for higher prices on food and supplies.
A nationwide shortage of long-haul truckers is one piece of the complex puzzle that determines whether Los Angeles students get applesauce or schools across Michigan’s Oakland county offer chocolate milk.
“Deliveries of goods and foods are extremely delayed,” Lieling Hwang, assistant director of nutrition services for the Long Beach Unified School District in California, the Guardian report said. “It now takes an average of eight weeks to receive an item that previously showed up in two to three weeks.”
“Typically, these deliveries are coming in short, as well,” Hwang said.
That means middle and high school students are no longer getting their favorite “spicy cheese crunchers” or whole wheat croissants that used to be offered for breakfast sandwiches, Hwang said.
The Guardian reported that the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently approved $1.5 billion in assistance to help school nutrition operations keep up with rising food prices. The money will be used to provide schools with fruit, vegetables, meat, and dairy products.
Congress passed legislation to make all school lunches free for this year in the wake of the pandemic.
“We’ve been told it may even get worse before it gets better,” Simmerman said.
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