Local school districts struggle with food, supply shortage

Posted at 6:47 AM, Nov 01, 2021

PARMA, Ohio — Because of the ongoing labor shortage and supply chain issues, school districts continue to scramble with trying to secure enough food and supplies for their students.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended its free breakfast and lunch for students through the end of this school year.

“We’ve had shortages on many items such as bread, cereal and certain chicken products,” said Parma's food and nutrition supervisor, Bob Gorman.

On top of the lack of supplies, Gorman said the cost of available supplies is nowhere near their pre-pandemic prices.

“The costs have gone up quite substantially,” he said.

For the past month on the Bedford City School District website, a letter greets visitors, detailing the “long, unpredictable road ahead” when it comes to ordering and securing the right variety of food for kids.

bedford schools food
A letter for parents posted on the Bedford City School District website

“Planning the menus, I used to really enjoy it,” said Nutrition supervisor Jennifer Dickson. “It was fun. It’s become really difficult.”

School leaders in the district explained they saw their lunch meals more than double for September and October of 2020 and 2021.

“As time goes by, the numbers are increasing,” Dickson added. “Our staff is not increasing. We’re using more and more [food and supplies.] It’s definitely been a struggle.”

As a result, Gorman explained to News 5 how the Parma City School District continues to fall back on locally sourced fruits and vegetables from throughout the state, and looking for creative ways to meet their demand.

“One school may get a chicken patty, one may get chicken nuggets, one may get a chicken finger, one may get a hamburger that day,” he explained. “It’s really been hit or miss menu-wise with what we’re actually serving.”

Both school districts also told us they’re dealing with staff shortages as well in their cafeterias.

To apply for an open position at Bedford City School District, click here.

To apply for an open position at Parma City School District, click here.