Supply chain issues affecting schools

Published 8:20 am Friday, January 14, 2022

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The supply chain issues affecting the nation have hit home in Charlotte.

Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS) are having ongoing issues with food supplies for students; however, that has not stopped the district from continuing to provide meals.

“If one school does not receive a particular item, that cafeteria manager will reach out to the other cafeteria managers to see if they have any additional stock on hand,” Christine Powell Director of Finance and Nutritional Services said.

Supply chain issues nationwide have been blamed on congestion at the ports, lack of truck drivers and shipping containers.

“The most significant issue we have experienced is not receiving our weekly food deliveries due to driver shortages with the supplier.” Powell said.

To combat the issue Powell said cafeteria managers have been ordering additional food weekly along with utilizing USDA commodity foods to ensure all CCPS students have nutritious meals available each day.

Powell said school menus may change for particular schools in the division based on what is available.

According to the USDA, schools served close to 500 million lunches on average per month from September 2018 to May 2019. That number declined during the pandemic of the 2020-21 school year to about 330 million lunches per month.

To help school districts, the USDA announced in December that it would invest up to $1.5 billion in school meals programs during supply chain issues.

The funds will be made available through USDA’s Commodity Credit Corporation.

The funds will be broken into three parts: $1 billion for schools to purchase food for their meal programs; another $300 million for states to buy foods to be distributed to schools; and an additional $200 million will be used for cooperative agreements to purchase local foods for schools.

According to the USDA, funds are expected to help up to 100,000 schools in all 50 states.

The amount of funds school districts will receive will be based on enrollment.