Cafeteria makes do during food shortage

Buying in bulk has kept students from noticing changes in school lunches.


Kyle Stunkel

The lunch ladies constantly do their best to serve the students of Gibson Souther High School.

Across the nation schools are feeling the pinch of supply chain issues, as cafeterias are unable to receive the supplies they need to feed students. The Gibson Southern cafeteria staff have felt the impact locally and is running low on certain school food items. 

“If they (distributors) don’t receive it, they cannot get it to us,” head cook Brenda Sands said.

The problem is rooted around distribution. A shortage of delivery drivers, warehouse workers  and people working in processing plants have caused a chain reaction that is now affecting school lunches.

“It’s not just the food,” nutrition specialist Emily Schmitt said. “It’s also the containers and milk.”

While the quantity of food items has decreased, the price of these items has increased. The distributor sometimes is not able to offer certain food items because they are not getting those particular products anymore. 

Students of Gibson Southern make there way through the lunch line halfway through their day. (Kyle Stunkel)

Distributors have been struggling to send certain food items to Gibson Southern, like pizza, breakfast items and chicken. Since these items are no longer available or being made. For example, the fried rice for the General Tso meal is running low, and the distributor cannot send anymore to Gibson Southern. This is also the same situation for Uncrustables peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Schmitt has to find substitutes if the distributor cannot send any. The options are limited due to the guideline for sodium and calorie intake, as well as protein and grain consumption. Also, these foods have to follow certain guidelines to accommodate food allergies.

“I feel like we are feeling the effects of COVID-19 now more than we did last year,” Schmitt said.

Gibson Southern’s kitchen is also affected by the employee shortage. The kitchen has been struggling to find people to work in the cafeteria.

“Everyone has employee shortages right now,” Sands said. 

Both Sands and Schmitt have noticed the problem and how the limited food supply is affecting the school’s lunch, but they believe the students have not paid attention to the different food items or the menu changes. 

“I haven’t really noticed a difference in lunch,” junior Eliott Church said.

Purchasing some food items in bulk and keeping that little surplus on hand has helped the students from noticing the food shortage and how it’s affecting certain lunch items. Both the kitchen staff and office have been working to adapt to this problem.