Supply chain issues affect local school lunches

Local News

COLUMBIANA, Ohio (WKBN) – Supply chain issues: something you’ve been hearing about for months that is affecting what goods are on store shelves.

Now that supply chain problem is creeping into our schools, specifically in cafeterias. Crestview Local Schools and their food supplier are still learning how to deal with the shortages.

“We have never run out of food for our children,” said Matthew Manley, superintendent of Crestview Local Schools. “We have been able to serve hearty and nutritious meals, it just might not be what was scheduled.”

Crestview students are still being fed breakfast, lunch and snacks.

They’re offering free lunches and more students are eating school meals instead of brown-bagging.

“We’re feeding more so they need to make more, but there’s already a shortage,” said Lisa Good, regional manager of The Nutrition Group.

It’s not just food; things like the paper trays the food is served on are in short supply.

“Most of the schools still have operating dishwashers where they can wash the trays for the students, then you run into being shorted on labor,” Good said.

Many of the schools are already working with fewer staff members because of the pandemic. What about getting more food from local farmers?

“When I go on three sides of my building and see abundant fields of grain and everything else, why is it that it gets trucked in from somewhere?” Manley said.

Some fresh produce already comes from local farmers, but for other items, it’s not as simple as driving food across the county from farm to school. One example is pancakes and french toast. When suppliers look for substitutes for menu items, they have to make sure they are following proper federal guidelines.

“Any item that we get in also has to have a CN label, a child nutrition label so it has to be certified by the state,” Good said.

For now, parents can check with the school to find live updates on menu changes. For children with dietary restrictions, the school has a computer program that automatically adjusts the food that can be given to those students.

The following is a list of local school districts that are members of The Nutrition Group.

Trumbull County

Columbiana County
Columbiana Career and Technical Center
Beaver Local
East Palestine
Southern Local

Mahoning County
South Range
Mahoning Career and Technical Center

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