Supply chain issues impact food service at Denver Public Schools

Local News

DENVER (KDVR) — The supply chain shortage is impacting the food that’s served to thousands of students in Denver public schools.

Just in the last month, school officials informed parents about milk shortages for breakfast and lunch. But when will this end and what else is in short supply right now?

“It’s not that they don’t send us anything, they may send just a partial order,” said Gosia Holthaus, the manager of meal operations with DPS Food and Nutrition Services.

The shipping backlogs at U.S. ports, as well as a lack of delivery drivers, are impacting everything and everyone in some way — and schools are not excluded from this.

DPS schools aren’t getting enough milk from suppliers, but school officials tell FOX31 Monday that milk isn’t the only thing they’re struggling to get.

The list goes on: tortillas, cheese crackers, even granola and sometimes bread.

“The milk shortage issues were caused by production issues. As far as we know, that has been taken care of,” Holthaus said, but added: “right now we’re still facing milk shortages due to delivery issues.”

FOX31 has learned 27,000 DPS students daily depend on breakfast and 38,000 on lunch. Officials with the district’s Food and Nutrition Services posted on their Facebook page that what’s on the menu is subject to change.

So what should kids do and how long will this last?

“We would recommend maybe exploring the menu or understanding that they may have to be flexible and patient with us,” Holthaus said. “We basically have to make a decision day-by-day, see how it goes, and see how we can make the best of it and make sure we have enough food to serve to our students.”

These supply chain issues go beyond the cafeteria at Denver Public Schools. They’re also affecting staff.

DPS spokesperson Will Jones told FOX31 in an email that things like carpeting and asphalt are either in short supply or increasing in cost.

He said this could impact repairs in schools along with school parking lots and playgrounds. They’re also experiencing delays in purchasing new vehicles because manufacturers cannot yet install the electronics in them.

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