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Worker shortage could cause food supply challenges at Sioux City schools

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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - With schools back in session, many students will take advantage of school lunches to get them through the day. But the pandemic is leading to a worker shortage with some food suppliers.

The Sioux City Public School District is one school district starting to feel the effects of the shortage.

"We are starting to see some of those challenges if you will, it's kind of statewide distributors are having just as much of a challenge as we are you know just trying to get the products from manufacturers," said Rich Luze, Food Services Director.

Schools across the state are experiencing what Luze calls challenges in different ways for every one of them. But what foods are being affected by the shortage?

"Well right now chicken, cheese, pizza, kind of the main staples if you will as far as school lunches and what not," said Luze.

One way the Sioux City Public School District is trying to get through the shortage is through waivers approved by the state. The school has filled out waivers that will allow them to go slightly outside the usual guidelines and requirements for their lunches. But there is no need to worry as Luze says the meals will still be beneficial to the students.

"We were able to apply for waivers to basically get our hands on what we can and it may not be whole grain or may not be the low sodium item and what not, but yet its something that we can provide and still nutritious and serve to the schools." said Luze.

Despite the shortage Luze believes the best option for those in Siouxland is to still have your kids eating school lunch.

"I would recommend them getting the lunch here at the school because it helps the school in many ways not only can you get the nutrition to your child and make sure they have a meal. But, it also helps with different funding sources in the school so we're here to stay and want to provide as many meals as we can," said Luze.

Luze said the school district is also short about 40 workers in its school lunch program.

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Jayson Moeller

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