Some Colorado schools don't have enough milk for their students because of 'unprecedented' supply shortages

·2 min read
Milk school tray
Denver Public Schools told Insider it was struggling to supply enough milk and food to its pupils. JGI/Tom Grill via Getty Images
  • Denver Public Schools (DPS) says it's struggling to get enough milk to serve at breakfast and lunch.

  • Pupils are instead being encouraged to bring refillable water bottles with them.

  • DPS attributed it to "unprecedented supply-chain challenges."

Schools across Denver are struggling to supply enough milk and food to their pupils, which their school district credited to supply-chain problems.

Denver Public Schools (DPS), which includes more than 200 schools with a total of just over 90,000 students, is instead encouraging pupils to bring refillable water bottles with them.

"DPS is struggling to receive enough milk to serve to every child at breakfast and lunch every day," Theresa Hafner, DPS executive director of Food Services, told Insider in an email.

"When the milk is available, we are prioritizing serving milk at breakfast at all schools and at our elementary schools for lunch," she said.

"I think the milk company is trying its best to give most schools at least some milk, but not a complete order," she added.

DPS told parents and guardians in a newsletter on October 8 that it was experiencing "unprecedented supply-chain challenges with food and milk this fall," DPS Food services outreach and engagement officer Theresa Peña said.

DPS told parents and guardians that some of the food served to students might differ from what's listed on its menu.

Peña told Insider that Meadow Gold, a brand by Dean Foods, was the milk vendor for most of the Denver metro school districts. Dean Foods, which is now owned by the Dairy Farmers of America cooperative, didn't immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Typically, just over 60% of pupils at DPS schools are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. However, all pupils nationwide can get access to free breakfast and lunch during the 2021-2022 academic year because of a Department of Agriculture charges waiver. The school district typically serves around 32,000 breakfasts and 45,000 lunches each day.

Businesses across the US have been hit by supply-chain shortages stemming from port congestion, a lack of truckers, and a huge surge in demand for goods. Restaurants and stores have been changing their menus and putting prices up to cope with delays, shortages, and rising costs of products.

As well as the supply-chain issues being experienced by DPS, schools across the US have been struggling to find enough staff, too. Teachers are leaving the profession because of burnout and fears of catching the coronavirus.

One high school in Boston hired a party bus with a stripper pole after being unable to find any bus drivers, while an elementary school in Philadelphia bought pizza for 400 students after food-services staff didn't show up.

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