Food supply issues force Alabama schools to ask parents to prepare breakfast, brace for remote learning

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Schools in Alexander City, Alabama have asked parents to begin feeding their children breakfast at home or sending them to school with snacks due to food supply shortages. 

In an October 9 post on the Alexander City Schools Facebook page, officials explained that the city’s schools had not received food deliveries in previous weeks due to “suppliers who are short on supplies, drivers and even warehouse employees.” 

Alexander City schools serve breakfast and lunch daily and the district warned that breakfast could be impacted more so than lunch in coming weeks. 

Officials said that action had been taken to open accounts with other vendors in an attempt to diversify supply options. 

“If possible, we ask that you feed your student breakfast prior to school or try to send a snack. Some of you have noticed our menus have not been updated regularly. When supplies do arrive, we do not always receive what we have requested; therefore altering the menus. This is a situation that is frustrating for you as a parent, and for us as well as our ability to feed our students is being greatly impacted,” the post said.

In an update on Tuesday, Alexander City Schools thanked parents and community members for an outpouring of support regarding the issue.

“Alexander City Schools felt it was necessary to alert our parents of the ongoing supply chain issues. We also wanted to notify parents that menu selections could be limited based on item availability during weekly deliveries. At no time were our students not offered or served a meal for lunch or breakfast,” the district wrote. 

Officials said they were working with Southern Food Services to help alleviate some of the strain and broaden their Child Nutrition Program.

Parents would be informed of menu alterations on the night before via social media.

“Our mission is to inspire hope and create pathways for student success. Nutrition has the potential to positively influence students’ academic performance and behavior which impacts their ability to be successful in the classroom. For this reason, we will continue to make substitutions when necessary and/or limit menu options in order to continue to feed our students,” Alexander City Schools wrote. 

“Again, we appreciate your patience and understanding as we face this nationwide issue,” the district said. 

The U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences shows that Alexander City had a total of five schools with more than 3,000 students for the 2020 to 2021 school year. 

Information on how funds will be allocated has not yet been given to states, but a Tuesday news release said that the department was working to approve state plans to distribute the relief funds for schools meals through the Child Nutrition Emergency Operation Costs Reimbursement Programs “to help offset the costs child nutrition program operators incurred during the early months of the pandemic.”

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