School district faces food service supply delays

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News

Last week, the Montevideo School District’s Food & Nutrition Services department sent out an email to families in the district to notify them of an issue involving food shortages and supply chain delays during this school year. The letter reads that the shortages “could put a strain on our school menus”. While the Food & Nutrition Services Department has been placing orders for school lunch supplies six to weeks in advance, the delays could still cause issues. “It’s been frustrating for them,” says Superintendent Wade McKittrick. “We set our menus a month in advance and all of a sudden, your chicken order doesn’t show up for six weeks because of the shortages. We wanted to make sure people knew that it may say chicken lunch on the menu, and then it may be something different and this is the reason why.”

The letter sent to District families notes that the menu may change on occasion without notice due to the shortages. Despite the shortages happening nationally, the school must make all adjustments in such a way as to comply with State and Federal meal pattern regulations. “The shipping shortages are really taking a toll. Transportation companies aren’t finding drivers, so literally, loads of food are being delayed at loading docks and freezers and not moving from point A to point B,” McKittrick says.

In addition to the issues with receiving lunch supplies on time, the district has also faced challenges receiving all other supplies on time, with delivery transportation issues affecting everything from teacher’s supplies to janitorial supplies, and even building supplies for projects. “We were anticipating some door repairs being done before school started, but we’ve had things back-ordered for eight weeks, and the completion date just got all messed up,” McKittrick says. With no end in sight for the transportation delay issues, the district, like many area businesses and entities is left only to make adjustments to plans and remain patient.