As food shortages soar across the United States, they have also hit home in central Ohio school districts.

One of those school districts is New Albany-Plain Local Schools.

The school’s Communications Manager Patrick Gallaway, through the district’s Food Services Coordinator, whom Gallaway did not name, detailed for The Ohio Star in an email just how badly the district is hurting for food.

“Some key food shortages we have experienced in our daily operations are beef products; such as hamburger patties, chicken products; such as popcorn chicken, chicken patties, nuggets, etc and potato products; such as hash browns and  french fries,” the email said. “These items are in high demand and short supply. Many breakfast items are also in demand. Additionally, we are struggling to get paper products and disposable flatware.”

The district emphasized that supply is not the only issue, but that demand for hot lunches among students has dramatically increased, exacerbating the problem.

The email said that “districts similar to New Albany across Ohio are providing more meals at breakfast and lunch than ever before.”

“Across our school district, my food service staff provide an average of 1,200 breakfast and 2,900 lunches per day,” the email said. “This does not include any ala carte items or second meals which students are purchasing in addition to the free meal currently provided by the USDA School Lunch Program.”

It also said that the district faces staffing shortages, making meal distribution to students more difficult.

“Staffing challenges are also present and we are currently accepting applications for food service staff within New Albany-Plain Local Schools,” the district told The Star. “Additional staff will help us meet the needs of our students in a more efficient and timely manner.”

The district is looking outside of its normal supply chain to fill the void, though it remains optimistic.

“We are working closely with our vendors to find replacements and also shopping at local big box stores such as Kroger and  Sam’s Club to fill in any gaps in our food order,” the district told The Star. “I feel confident that once our providers track the data they will be able to provide items needed on a more regular basis.”

Many school districts around the state face similar challenges.

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Pete D’Abrosca is a contributor at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Pete on Twitter. Email tips to dabroscareports@gmail.com.
Photo “New Albany High School” by New Albany Communications.