EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Edmond Public Schools is experiencing a full plate of problems with their lunch crunch as the nationwide staffing and supply chain issues hit closer to home.
“We’re doing the best that we can,” said Dan Lindsey, Edmond Schools’ director of child nutrition. “A lot of people are out of the workforce.”
Daily, the district is 35 to 40 employees short in their cafeterias, out of about 200 workers. That’s up to about 20 percent of their child nutrition workforce. It doesn’t sound like much until you find out they are feeding about 15,000 kids per day.
“The service level that we normally like to give our customers and kids, we’re just not able to without the bodies in the kitchen,” Lindsey said.
Not to mention manufacturers up the chain are having the same issue. Not enough staffing means not enough food is moving down the line quick enough. Lindsey said this means Edmond school employees in the cafeterias don’t really know what they have to work with until the delivery truck arrives. Over the past few weeks, they have had to substitute about 60 items per week.
“They really are having to be really flexible and patient just trying to work and just find a way to feed kids with whatever they can get their hands on,” Lindsey said.
What about kids with food allergies that may not be able to eat the food on a given day?
“That’s probably the biggest hurdle that we have,” Lindsey said. “We really are advising parents to be extra cautious with the school meal because we just don’t have a way to plan for that substitute.”
Some parents KFOR spoke to Wednesday, like Christina Poos, who said her daughter has food allergies, said she still isn’t worried about it.
“I don’t have any concerns about it because we’re able to address it from home,” said Poos, whose daughter attends Edmond Schools. “They’re doing the best they can with the resources they have.”
However, Cheryl Lipscomb, a grandmother of several kids in Edmond schools, said she feels slightly the opposite.
“I think that’s probably my greatest concern is kids with allergies, and they’re not going to have a choice,” Lipscomb said.
According to Lindsey, from what they know right now, this issue doesn’t appear that it will be resolved until the end of this year or possibly until next spring.