How a local school system is dealing with food shipment delays

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MADISON, Ala. — Food shortages and shipment delays are forcing some students to go hungry in the state. Alexander City Schools in Tallapoosa County recently asked parents to feed breakfast to their students at home because of the lack of food deliveries.

While there have been no similar reports in North Alabama, state education officials say every school district in Alabama is facing shortages to some degree. Madison City Schools is getting creative to help keep food on the lunch table.

Marty Tatara, the Child Nutrition Coordinator for MCS says they are taking things one day at a time and planning menus accordingly. She says one of the biggest changes is the shortened menu.

“Normally in a high school, we might’ve had up to 12 different entrees at lunch to choose from,” said Tatara. “Now, we may have three or four. In elementary, we usually had three choices. Now, we have one or two… We’ve also had to make some menu substitutions at the last minute just based on the fact that the item that we needed didn’t come the day before.”

Even with a shortage of truck drivers, the school system has only missed one delivery. Tatara says, even so, they were still able to feed students.

“We don’t order food that close, so we don’t sit there and wait for food to come in,” she said. “You want to have at least two to three days of food in stock before a truck comes.”

In order to avoid empty shelves, people working at the school system are going above and beyond, even coming in on weekends to accept deliveries all to keep bellies full at school.

“We are ready, willing, and able to feed any child that would like a breakfast or a lunch,” said Tatara.

More Madison City School students are eating breakfast inside the cafeteria now than ever before and because all meals are free, the school system is encouraging parents to allow their kids to eat food from the cafeterias.

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