Supply chain issues causing concern over school lunches in South Dakota

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Published: Sep. 7, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - School is back in session, but food supply issues are giving districts across the nation trouble when it comes to serving school lunches, including in South Dakota.

School districts in the region are being forced to adapt, once again. This time it’s with their food service. Both the Sioux Falls School District, and those in the surrounding area, say they will need to be flexible with the menu items they’re offering for the time being.

Sioux Falls School District Child Nutrition Services Coordinator Gay Anderson says the issue stems from the nationwide worker shortage, which is impacting the supply chain.

“We’re dealing with distribution that can’t find truck drivers, they can’t find warehouse people, they can’t find some of their food coming in from their suppliers, the manufacturers, and really struggle with that, so it creates this vicious cycle for us,” Anderson said.

To address the situation, Anderson says food service staff will need to be ready to adjust.

“We have to be flexible, we have to be patient, and we have to be gracious with the food that we get,” Anderson said.

It’s a similar story for surrounding districts, like Harrisburg, which is also responsible for Beresford and Madison Central schools.

“The industry as a whole is having these issues, and so you can expect menu changes almost on a weekly basis,” Chris Beach, Harrisburg School District Child Nutrition Director, said.

Their biggest issue, Harrisburg’s current vendor is cutting ties with them.

“So, as of last week, we have 60 days to find a new food supplier, while the school year is starting,” Beach said.

But, just like in Sioux Falls, the menu for Harrisburg Schools will continue to provide students the proper nutrition and portion sizes.

“We still have to meet the USDA guidelines, regardless of the product that we’re serving,” Beach said. “So, they’re not going to miss any of that, they’re just going to maybe miss out on some of their favorites.”

Both districts agree the issue may not go away soon, however, parents are being assured their children will receive all the meals they need.

“Please know, we will feed your kids,” Anderson said. “We will have food for your kids for breakfast and lunch, we will do everything that we can to make sure that we can get your kids fed and ready to learn.”

For more information about school meals in the Sioux Falls School District, click here.

For more information about school meals in the Harrisburg School District, click here.

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