MADISON, Alabama – Food shortages and shipping delays are forcing some students to go hungry in the state. Schools in Alexander City in Tallapoosa County recently asked parents to give their students breakfast at home due to lack of food deliveries.
While there has been no similar report in northern Alabama, state education officials say every school district in Alabama faces shortages to some extent. Madison City Schools is getting creative to help keep food on the lunch table.
Marty Tatara, the infant nutrition coordinator for MCS, says they take things one day at a time and plan the menus accordingly. She says one of the biggest changes is the shortcut menu.
“Normally in a high school we could have had up to 12 different starters for lunch,” Tatara said. “Now we can have three or four. In elementary school, we usually had three choices. Now we have one or two… We also had to make menu substitutions at the last minute just because the item we needed hadn’t come the day before.
Even with a shortage of truckers, the school system only missed one delivery. Tatara says that even so, they were still able to feed the students.
“We don’t order food that close, so we don’t just sit around and wait for the food to arrive,” she said. “You want to have at least two to three days of food in stock before a truck arrives. “
In order to avoid empty shelves, people working in the school system go above and beyond, even coming on weekends to accept deliveries, all to keep school bellies full.
“We are ready, willing and able to feed any child who wants breakfast or lunch,” Tatara said.
More and more Madison City School students are having breakfast inside the cafeteria now, and since all meals are free, the school system is encouraging parents to allow their children to eat in cafeterias.
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