FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Some school cafeterias across Northwest Arkansas are feeling the weight of supply chain issues. It is starting to impact the food schools are able to put on kids’ trays. In two different districts, this has meant changing the menu and simplifying lunches for kids.
“In child nutrition, a lot of what we’re seeing shortages of are our whole grain products like snacks and different grain foods,” said Ally Mrachek, Director of Child Nutrition for the Fayetteville School District.
The supply chain problem spreads from the Fayetteville School District up to Siloam Springs.
“Typically it’s going to be the entrée items, we do have some snack items that we’re seeing shortages of,” said Joanna Trimble, Assistant Child Nutrition Director for Siloam Springs Schools.
This results in having to substitute items on the menu.
“We are limiting our options and simplifying issues,” Mrachek said.
Mrachek said there may be more factors than just supply chain issues.
“Fewer people to serve more meals means we need to simplify where we can,” said Mrachek. “There are so many kids who are eating school meals across the country because they’re free to everyone this year.”
Mrachek said there’s been about a 10% increase in students eating free lunches in Fayetteville this year. In Siloam Springs, it is a similar picture.
“In most of our schools, we’ve seen about a hundred students increase…and even more at the high school,” Trimble said.
Trimble said when it comes to supply chain issues and students partaking in the free lunch program… it’s unprecedented.
“This is unique… I haven’t seen it at this extent,” Trimble said.
Despite these problems, both school districts encourage you to keep sending your kids to school to receive these lunches on campus. While there are supply chain issues, it’s nothing that isn’t manageable and certainly not so much so that they can’t feed your kid… it simply may change the menu some.