School meals have been all the talk this year.
From celebrating the USDA’s expansion of free school meals for all kids throughout this academic year to the recent passage of An Act Promoting Student Nutrition into law on October 15, and now dealing with the great supply chain crisis plaguing school cafeterias nationwide, there is a lot going on.
The global supply chain crisis triggered by the pandemic is now forcing schools to respond to unprecedented challenges in order for students to continue receiving healthy school meals.
Should my kids eat school meals? Should they not? For those wondering what's going on and what's the best thing they can do to help, here's the break down all you need to know about what's happening in school cafeterias.
It is incredibly important to acknowledge that, school nutrition workers are going above and beyond to ensure all students are receiving the food they need, providing critical support as the pandemic continues.
We need to recognise the incredible work they are doing, in the face of uprecedented challenges, to help guarantee kids are nourished and ready to thrive. We know that feeding kids today is a necessary investment to ensure a more equitable and healthy future for our kids.
With the economy reopening, we've seen an increase in demand for products, especially in the food sector, that is outpacing supply and labor availability. Due to this, schools are dealing with product shortages, discontinued items, price increases, distributor cancellations, delivery delays, and labour shortages in all areas of the supply chain system.
These disruptions are affecting school cafeterias, forcing staff to create flexible menus and substitutions. It is important to note that despite this, providing kids with nourishing meals is still top of mind.
To clarify: the root cause of all of this is not due to increased participation in free school meals, but rather, that the supply chain for school meals has been disrupted by the same obstacles happening nationwide in all different sectors.
Participation is part of the solution, studies show that participation increases when school meals are available at no cost for all students. High participation in school means increased revenue for child nutrition that schools can then use to purchase local, healthy ingredients and to invest in staff training.
Here's what you need to know about Free School Meals this year.
Project Bread is working closely with school districts across Massachusetts to come up with effective and sustainable solutions to close the gaps in food, flatware products, and labor shortages. We are grateful for your patience and support as we work with school nutrition professionals to maneuver through these obstacles. You can get involved by: