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School districts seeing food shortages from vendors ahead of new school year

AMMON, Idaho (KIFI) - Food shortage problems aren't just being felt by restaurants and grocery stores. School districts across the area and the country are dealing with them as well.

Heather Plain, the child nutrition director for Bonneville Joint School District 93, says a lot of schools are in the same situation.

"I follow a lot of groups online, a lot of different districts, and they're all in the same situation. So trucks will show up, with just no product," Plain said.

Items like gloves, paper products, and just about everything else is in hot demand explains District 93's procurement and inventory specialist Shannon Fullmer.

"Right now, we're struggling with ketchup pcs. Which kids love their ketchup," Fullmer said. "And our one vendor he just kept going, 'K, this should be here, should be here.' They kept bumping us. I just checked my email, and he doesn't even have an ETA for me anymore. And he's taken all the ketchup pcs I had on my order for next month, off my order."

With these shortages in mind, Plain is telling parents to be prepared for possible menu changes.

"There's not a question. We will feed kids," Plain said. "We just may have to alter our menu a little bit, cause we still have to meet the menu pattern and all the meal expectations for our federal program. So we can't just go, 'Oh we'll cut it down and not serve fruits and vegetables. Or we just won't serve this or that' we still have to meet the meal pattern. And so we have the food. It just might not be what we had planned."

Plain also said they're staying positive, especially thanks to employees like Fullmer.

"Shannon just works tirelessly, she's on the phone, she's calling all the distributors, 'Where are we at? What can we get, what can we shift to, what are some backup products we can get?' So our kitchens have almost all the product they need for the first two weeks of school," Plain said. "So it's not, you know, it will be very seamless to them, there might be a few items. But we just ask parents to be patient if the menu changes in a hurry.

Plain urges parents and caregivers to keep an eye on social media, especially the district's child nutrition Facebook page for any menu changes.

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Rachel Fabbi

Rachel Fabbi is a reporter, anchor and producer for Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3.

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