Supply Chain Shortages Rages On, Leaving School Lunches Limited

Andrew Dunfee and Collin Michele

The future remains uncertain for many people within the U.S. due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a new problem has arisen amidst the plethora of Covid-19 related problems: school lunches. With how impactful and disruptive the virus was to the general population and functionality of the U.S in 2020, the ripple of those impacts is now being seen within the supply chain, as seen in the 2021 report by Teaganne Finn, “Supply Chain Woes Hit Schools, Leaving Administration Scrambling to Make Meals.” 

School administration has found itself in a stressful situation due to limited lunch options. In conjunction with these limitations, the demand for lunches has increased now that all students have returned to school full time. Some of these students are unable to access adequate food choices at home, making school lunches one of their only sources for balanced meals, and the limiting of school lunches hurts them the most. “They no longer sell the grilled cheese they used to. They’ve been selling smaller sandwiches, sometimes without fries, and the new sandwiches don’t taste as good,” says Miguel Rodriguez, a senior here at Skyline.

Lunch is one of the most important meals for student learning as stated in the 2012 study by Jungmin Kim, “The Importance of Eating Lunch.” The reduction of items on students’ plates is disgruntling and only worsens the performance of students who rely on school lunches.

The supply shortage goes far back to the start of the pandemic, because of this, the supply chain had been in limbo for roughly a year. The start of the pandemic was a prominent occurrence in most people’s lives because of the mass disruption it caused in day-to-day activities. The lunches at Skyline are a good example of this statement. The lunches are usually a small burger or small slice of pizza and sometimes without fries or another side. “There’ve been major reductions in school lunches,” notes Raven Marin, a senior at Skyline High School. “The slice of pizza I had received was noticeably smaller than the slices I had eaten previously- It was even smaller than the box.”  

No one, including officials within the schools and our government, have a definitive idea on when the supply shortage may come to an end. The New York Times estimates the shortage may end by 2022. The limiting of school lunches has a great impact on the overall health and focus of many students, creating a new challenge for all.