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DPS forced to change lunch menus due to delivery delays

The delays are coupled with a staffing shortage in lunchrooms across DPS.

DENVER — Some local schools are being forced to change lunch menus on the fly as food supply delays affect districts across the country.

At Denver Public Schools (DPS), kitchen staff have been making last minute changes to menus because food has not arrived on time.

“We are having to punt,” said Theresa Hafner, the executive director of enterprise management at DPS. “We are having to make nachos instead of the burritos, but we still want to serve fully compliant meals to the kids.”

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She said the problem has gotten worse over the last few weeks.

“I would say every single day the kitchen manager here tells me she is missing something from her warehouse order,” said Hafner. “We don’t get a lot of notice that something might not be coming in, so we are having to really be nimble and think on our feet.”

Hafner said commonly impacted products include chocolate milk, tortillas, crackers and vegetables. 

She said they still have enough food to serve, but are working to continue to provide balanced meals without the ingredients staff had planned for.

The district is also working through it's own staffing shortages, according to Hafner.

DPS is currently down between 60 and 90 positions for lunch preparation.

“That makes it super challenging too because we don’t have enough people,” Hafner said.

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She also said districts are now competing with each other for staff.

Hafner said it’s unclear when things will ease up, but said she hopes the supply chain will get better at least by the second semester of school.

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