WATERTOWN (CBS) – Friday’s lunch at Watertown Middle School is expected to consist of chicken popcorn, mashed potatoes and corn.
Nutrition director Brandon Rabbit says he has these foods on Thursday, but that’s not always the case.
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âWe go to great lengths to make sure we assemble everything on time and to make sure we have all products in stock and have replacements for anything that is missing,â Rabbit said.
What is missing is now the key. National supply chain issues forced staff to rotate almost every day. The rabbit can no longer even have a simple spoon. They have to pay more for the individual knives and forks. And just because the menu says carrots doesn’t mean it will.
“We were anticipating the arrival of 20 cases and we ultimately did not receive any,” said Rabbit.
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Due to the pandemic, public schools are able to provide free breakfast and lunch until next year. This means that in Watertown, meals have now doubled to over $ 2,000 per day. In addition to the list of challenges, Russo’s of Watertown is closing its doors. The popular local market was a supplier of produce to as many as 90 school districts, including Watertown.
âCertainly on a personal level it’s difficult,â said Watertown School Superintendent Deanne Galdston. “Russo’s has been a major supplier of products for decades and such a wonderful partner to have.”
A new product vendor is currently being sought and offers have fallen, but that means some issues in the products that the school system has been waiting for.
âWe learned last year that we can pivot on a dime when we have to and that seems like the new normal,â Galdston said.
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She says they are committed to providing a nutritious meal, even if that means a few lunchtime surprises.