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Some central Ohio schools get creative to feed students in response to national supply chain shortage

Supply chain shortages have made it more difficult to order things like plates, utensil kits, aluminum foil, burger patties, corn dogs and chicken.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — National labor and manufacturing shortages are being felt all the way in central Ohio at some school districts.  

Supply chain shortages have made it more difficult to order things like plates, utensil kits, aluminum foil, burger patties, corn dogs and chicken. 

As a result, Gahanna-Jefferson, New Albany and Westerville City Schools have had to get creative in order to make sure all students have access to a warm meal. 

Schools ramped up the effort to use disposable utensils and plates as a safety precaution during the pandemic; items that have since become scarce. 

At Westerville City Schools, food service employees have begun making plates out of takeout containers. According to a spokesperson, the district has also partnered with places like Pizza Hut and Jets to provide food to students. 

The amount of students eating Westerville school meals has risen 21% since 2019. A district spokesperson cited a nationwide extension to school meal benefits as reason for the rise. On average, the district provides roughly 8,000 meals a day. 

That rise, alongside lack of supplies, has added hours of work for food service employees. 

The White House announced Wednesday that the Port of Los Angeles will become a full-time operation, running 24 hours, seven days a week in an effort to combat the delay in supplies. Currently, ports in Los Angeles and Long Beach, California, account for 40% of all shipping containers entering the U.S. 

According to the Associated Press, retail and shipping companies like Walmart, FedEx and UPS have agreed to help relieve the backlog, committing to unload during off-peak hours.  

President Joe Biden plans to discuss the shortage and these new developments during a briefing Wednesday afternoon. 

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