Economy

Supply Chain Challenges Affect Southeast Texas School Districts

Vidor — School districts nationwide, and here in Southeast Texas, are scrambling to stock school cafeterias. Supply chain shortages and delays are affecting certain food items and non-food goods.

It’s all due to supply chain issues and staffing shortages among food vendors that began at the start of the pandemic.

Mary Ellen Vivrett, Child Nutrition Director at Vidor ISD, says the impact has only just now trickled down to southeast Texas.

“I think they’re finally just catching up with us and other parts of the country, in the east and the northeast, they’ve had more complications with distribution and cancellations than we have,” said Vivrett.

Vivrett says the lack of truck drivers only complicates the task of feeding students saying, “we are seeing less quality, less quantity, and again, problem is the distribution due to shortages of staffing.”

Disposable trays, utensils and plastic items are also hard to come by.

“For instance, we couldn’t get water, a couple of weeks ago because the plastic bottles. Anything that comes in plastic and plastic wrappers and plastic utensils now we’re having a hard time getting,” added Vivrett.

The shortages of food items is forcing districts to make quick substitutions to their menus. However, all these changes and disruption does not mean children are going without meals. The district is still providing free breakfast and lunch.

“The most colorful diet provides the most nutritious diet that’s what we’re striving for… We try to communicate that to the families and to the kids so they know that there’s gonna be something different,” said Vivrett.

Despite these shortages southeast Texas is still better off than other parts of the state like north Texas, where Dallas areas schools are having a harder time finding some commodity items.

We reached out to the local vendor — ‘Kommercial Kitchens’ which says it’s also had its shares of supply issues, which they say, “have all caused frustrations for us, our vendors, and of course our customers. Like so many, we hope to see this supply issue leveling out by the new year.”

Written by Rocio De La Fe

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