Labor shortage impacting hot school lunches in Tacoma

If your kids are used to eating lunch provided by their public school district, you may have noticed the menu can sometimes be hard to find at all. 

Tacoma Public Schools told parents last week that menus will be limited and meal plans could change frequently from school to school. Supply chain problems are being blamed and the issue is not only hitting schools in Tacoma. 

The School Nutrition Association says and the cause traces back to the nationwide labor shortage. 

"School meal programs nationwide are suffering disruptions," said the association’s Diane Pratt-Heavner.

The association has been warning the federal government for months while schools across the country are struggling to stock what they are used to feeding kids.

"Distribution houses are short on labor, that’s impacting distribution and delivery," said Pratt-Heavner. "There is also a truck driver shortage and that is really impacting how schools are getting supplies."

Northeast Tacoma Elementary School mom Julie White packs her boy’s lunch, even if he does not eat everything or trades away items from fellow students.

"It keeps me in the know and I wish our school lunches were healthier," she said. 

But school districts everywhere and the association insists nutrition is paramount, even more so as the usual ingredients are harder to find.

Tacoma Schools asks parents for patience. The district hopes the disruption is temporary and is actively looking for vendors who can help stock the shelves with foods kids are used to seeing on the menu. 

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