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Nationwide food shortages hit local schools

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TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Supply chain disruptions and nationwide food shortages are hitting local schools and affecting what they serve students for breakfast and lunch.

"Currently, on a daily basis, we are shorted up to 10 products per school, ranging from breakfast items to entree items to disposables," says Lori Cords, director of nutrition services for Tippecanoe School Corporation.

Cords finds herself constantly adjusting menus based on what's available that day.

"For example, today it was supposed to be mandarin oranges and we ended up with sausage gravy, so then we're going to plan B but there are some days where we go all the way down to plan Z," Cords says.

It's not just an issue at TSC. Nationwide food shortages are hitting schools across the state and the WLFI viewing area.

"It's been very unpredictable," Kelley Lease, director of foodservice for Logansport Community School Corporation. "We thought last year was bad but this year's probably twice as bad."

Officials are blaming nationwide labor shortages. Companies are finding themselves without enough workers to produce and transport food.

"There's not enough workers at the manufacturing plants, there's not enough drivers to deliver the food, and we, in turn, have labor shortages ourselves," Lease says.

Schools are doing their best to serve nutritious meals but officials say the issue is out of their hands.]

"We are doing our absolute best to follow the meal pattern but it is very discouraging that we aren't able to give our kids the variety and choices that we have in past," Cords says.

Schools are urging parents to be patient and aware that breakfast and lunch menus are subject to change. School officials expect the issue to linger for at least the rest of the school year, if not longer.

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