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ALABAMA – Earlier this year students said goodbye to a beloved school lunch item, Crispitos. But, that might not be the only thing leaving.

With continuous staffing and food shortages schools could be without a lot more. COVID-19 has impacted supply chains across the globe and made it hard to package and ship food consistently. This impacts thousands of students who depend on schools to provide nutritious meals.

According to every district in Alabama is experiencing supply chain issues. No schools have closed because of not being able to serve meals yet, but the time spent finding ways to serve students with fewer resources takes a toll on child nutrition programs.

Fewer truck drivers delivering food and child nutrition workers staffing cafeterias and school kitchens also make keeping up with the demand difficult.

More students relied on school meals in summer 2020 than in years past. The State Department of Education reported 7 million students were served by summer food programs in 2020. 49% of students in Alabama are also enrolled in free and reduced-priced lunch programs.

To help combat some of these shortages, Farm Food Collaborative works with four school districts including Madison County and Madison City to provide students with local fruits and vegetables. While this helps provide food for schools, districts still have to work with staffing shortages to ensure the food gets in the hands of students.