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Food supply chain issues impacting Kansas schools

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 9:02 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - While students at Andover’s Robert M. Martin Elementary School may like the food, some of the items could be taken off the menu next week.

“We were shorted a special flavor of tortilla chips, which made us change the menu from a Texas nacho to a super nacho,” Andover Public Schools Food Service Director Lisa Smith explained.

There are situations like this in districts across Kansas as a food supply issue presents challenges for schools to plan menus for students’ lunches. Some districts across Kansas say they’re having troubles getting certain food items delivered to their schools.

“I have never seen anything like this. We’ve had subs before for our food items that we’ve ordered, but not like we’re seeing now with a total absence of items,” Smith said. “I think generally, we’ve been fortunate, but I have seen other districts that are really struggling.”

Smith, with the Andover school district for nearly six years, said the supply shortage is caused by issues seen across the nation due to staffing shortages.

“There aren’t enough people driving trucks, there aren’t enough people in warehouses and not enough people even in the factories to produce the food,” Smith said. “And so they’re having trouble getting it to the warehouses and getting it to the user.”

She said while it may not seem like a big deal to some, she knows students have their favorite meals and wants to provide them best the district can.

“When we get supplies in and we know we’re looking for nacho cheese Doritos and we get barbecue chips instead,, that doesn’t work for Texas nachos,” Smith said. “My staff does tend to get frustrated but there’s always something. There’s always an acceptable substitute.”

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