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Many schools are dealing with low supplies, delayed shipments, and fewer workers

"We have been seeing shortages for food, paper as well as staffing shortages."

YORK, Pa. — “Peanut butter and jelly uncrustable. What a hot ticket item. You can’t find them anywhere," said Jenelle Himmelreich, the Food Service Director of the Eastern Lebanon County School District. 

Feeding students has become the most recent pandemic struggle, school officials claim.

“We have been seeing shortages for food, paper as well as staffing shortages," said Emily Rodriguez, the Food Service Coordinator at the Cornwall-Lebanon School District.

Officials with Lebanon School District, Eastern Lebanon County School District and Cumberland Valley School District all say they’re having issues securing some items including: Plastics, foam items, as well as juice boxes, pancakes, and chicken and egg products. 

“To me that’s the most frustrating thing. Trying to get the items here, try to keep my menu what I have posted without changing it," said Himmelreich.

But why is this shortage happening?

“When we went into the pandemic, schools shut down and that created a need in retail more than it did for schools, so when manufacturers shifted their focus, school nutrition was kind of left out," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez says her team is turning to creative measures in order to provide quality meals in spite of the shortages.

“If we have tacos, maybe we turn it into a taco bowl, if we were short on hard tacos shells," she said. "So it’s the same menu concept, but just maybe different variations of what we can serve and that our students are still enjoying food."

Lisa Geiling, a mother of two students in the Central Dauphin School District, says her kids often come home hungry. 

She says the situation is frustrating.

“Sometimes they run out of food and they only have a cheese stick and a small sandwich to serve them," said Geiling. 

The school districts also say that during a normal year, they would receive deliveries at least twice a week, but now  it’s only once a week. 

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