Shortage of supplies is pushing schools to improvise lunch menus

Davis County School District Nutrition Services officials keep a running count of missing supplies and foods.

This is how staff get a clear picture of menu plans that will need quick changes.

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

“So right now you can see we have a list of paper products,” Bradford said. “It was very important for us to be able to see, because a lot of the food products that we serve, we need to have specialized containers for them.

This sometimes means they can’t even serve some of the food they have.

Natalie Bradford shows KSL TV the chart her staff are holding of current supply shortages affecting their menus. (KSL TV)

“So…the menu changes all the time, yeah,” Bradford said. “But it’s also stressful in schools because they’re not getting the product they thought they were.”

It’s like the pieces of a puzzle. They must also meet certain nutritional standards.

“Our creativity is under severe strain,” she said.

Bradford says they’ve been able to meet all of those required standards, except one so far.

“We’re really struggling to get milk right now,” she said. “The dairy we buy from is struggling as much as we are with labor and supply chain issues.”

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

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

Food supply to the Davis County School District. (KSL TV)

“It’s something we see across the state and across the country,” she said.

But Bradford says apart from the milk problem, they’re doing fine. The menus are just not as varied as they would like.

And they will continue to do what they can, knowing that shortages won’t last forever.

“But we really appreciate the parents being so supportive,” Bradford added. “Without this parental support, it would be much more difficult to do what we do.”

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