Supply challenges bring menu changes, fewer choices
Like other school districts around the region, state and country, Park Hill is suffering major setbacks from the hiring crisis.
New this week is that the school has announced it is also facing challenges in getting adequate food supply for student offerings.
“Staffing is a struggle right now in Park Hill, with 69 open positions, including 19 on the nutrition services department team. But the problem goes even deeper,” said the district in an email to patrons on Friday.
The deeper problem is the food supply chain crisis.
“This summer, the state of Missouri let us know that we would not be getting hundreds of cases of fruits, vegetables, turkey, beef, ham, burgers, cheese, flour and pasta that we counted on from the commodity foods program,” Park Hill says in its email.
The food supply problem affects all Missouri schools, and because of this districts are trying to find other food distributors.
However, distributors are experiencing both food and labor shortages, so they can’t fulfill all their existing orders.
Park Hill’s food distributor canceled its delivery last week, leaving the district to scramble for other food to feed students, and the distributor told Park Hill to look for other distributors, since it could not guarantee future food deliveries.
Other distributors have completely canceled their contracts with school districts.
“We are fortunate to have a program that is feeding all our students for free, but this program means thousands more students are eating school meals each week, so our demand is higher while our supply is in jeopardy,” Park Hill said in its email.
Park Hill previously had proactively stockpiled food in its warehouse.
“But this food won’t last long without other sources, so we’re looking for other distributors. We’re even temporarily turning to local grocery businesses,” Park Hill’s statement said.
What This Means for Students:
“We’re revising our menus, and we’re being forced to decrease our selections. You might find that the posted menu changes, and your child might have fewer meal options,” the district says.
How You Can Help: What can you do to help?
“Help us support our nutrition services team. Each member of our staff is stretched thin and trying to do all they can do with limited resources. We appreciate your kindness and caring,” the school district announced in its email to patrons.
Members of the public can also share Park Hill’s job openings with anyone you know who would be a good addition to the district’s nutrition services team.
The district says it has full-time and part-time support staff positions open that make at least $14.15 an hour.