11:02 AM PDT, October 5, 2021
The latest COVID-19 challenge for schools is coming from the lunch room. Around the country, school districts are having a hard time getting food to prepare and workers to serve it, leading to a critical situation.
Some school officials are taking matters into their own hands by actually shopping at the grocery store for thousands of students.
Donette Worthy is in charge of school lunches for 19,000 students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Every day, Worthy, the school’s director of child nutrition, jumps into her own car and runs to the local grocery store.
“I needed to get some soy milk. We also bought some 9-ounce cups. We got some tortilla chips and also some tortilla shells, because those are some things we are having a hard time getting,” Worthy said.
Worthy also has to move supplies from one school to another, hauling heavy boxes of produce around.
And it’s not just lunch food in short supply. Millions of paper plates and plastic cutlery are stuck on container ships. There are also shortages of cafeteria staff.
Some kids at schools across the nation are taking to social media to complain about inedible food and sour milk.
But in Tuscaloosa, there are no complaints.
“To pull this meal off, we probably had to kind of finagle within our schools and move some food around, but every kid got fed,” Worthy said.