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GIPS using substitutes for lunches due to nationwide food shortage

Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:59 PM CDT
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - A nationwide food shortage is not only affecting restaurants and grocery store shelves, but it’s also impacting Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS).

“There’s been some days where we have a person just spending all day trying to source items that we can substitute to feed our kiddos,” said Kris Spellman, the director of nutrition at GIPS.

And that’s because it’s been hard trying to find the items they normally use. Last week when they were trying to plan their brunch for lunch menu, there were no eggs to be found.

“There were no egg omelets.There were no egg patties. There were no scrambled eggs,” Spellman told Local4 News.

Eventually, they were able to substitute the eggs for turkey sausage patties but finding alternatives like this can be challenging when they have to follow USDA guidelines and update nutrition information.

“We have all our production guides and all of our nutrition information that need to be updated if we’re unable to secure the product that we thought we were going to be able to use,” Spellman said.

Spellman said their food distributors have been nothing but helpful when trying to find substitutes, but they have been paying a lot more due to all the staff shortages.

“The manufacturers just don’t have the staff to produce all the products they normally produce,” Spellman said. “So, they’re trying to streamline and eliminate products they don’t sell a lot of.”

Although it’s gotten tougher for them to plan meals, Spellman said their main priority is to make sure these kids stay fed.

“I’m very proud of the group that we work with and the amount of time,” Starr Elementary Principal John Hauser said. “It just shows their professionalism, their dedication to our school and our students.”

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