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Supply line problems: Some schools seeing shortages of basic food items, supplies

In some schools, substitute isn’t just a name for a fill-in teacher anymore as supply line problems create shortages in basic food items and substitute items are being sent instead.

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In some schools, substitute isn’t just a name for a fill-in teacher anymore. Supply line problems have created shortages in basic food items and substitute items are being sent instead.

“You’d think it’s funny, but carrots. We can't get carrots, hot dogs, we’ve had trouble with the gloves we wear, the food safety gloves,” said Stephanie Caldwell, food service director at Boone County Schools in Kentucky.

Some food items are replaced with another item similar.

“It may not be the French Fries, but the supplier gave us a potato product. So, it’s ‘how do we make this work in our menus that we have planned out?’” Caldwell said.

It’s hit and miss on what might be available any given day. Caldwell said they’ve had shortages of things like trash can liners, food handler gloves, spoons and forks.

Other schools are seeing similar shortages.

At Edgewood schools in Trenton, Ohio, they’re seeing a shortage in some of the most basic items.

“Presently it’s milk,” said Frank Russo, director of public relations for Edgewood schools. “It could be a food item, it could also be a non-food item and what I mean by that is paper products, plates, napkins.”

It’s changed the entire workflow at some districts.

“Used to, we could order a day ahead of the delivery truck. Now, we’re ordering three to four days ahead. So, the manufacturer or the warehouse can say ‘we’re short on this, could you use this?’” Caldwell said.

One of the most important shortages is of certain workers. Caldwell said Boone County schools need food service workers, substitute teachers and bus drivers right away.