ULM — Ordering and stocking food for school lunches has not been easy for schools across the country. For Ulm Schools, they are just one of many that are concerned about food shortages, and these shortages go beyond food themselves.
Ulm Schools principal Russ McDaniel said, “Our head cook, she’ll go down, often times, I can see the frustration on her when I hear her say ‘I got to go to Sam’s Club and pick stuff up.”
He continued, “Silverware, we do have to order at times. We kind of lose it sometimes being lost in the garbage, but at the same time, we do have backup in plastic, so we can wait until that comes in, but it can be slow.”
For Sarah Kline, who serves as the only cook at Ulm Schools, the food shortages have impacted her day-to-day duties.
Kline stated, “It takes a toll because if it doesn’t come in, then I’m scrambling sometimes to get what I need. If they don’t have what I need, I go to Sam’s Club, and Walmart, and local stuff, and I’m currently getting a Costco card to go to Helena."
Due to late shipments, schools are also having to change what’s on their menu, providing different entrées to students.
Kline explained, “It definitely does impact the types of foods. Everybody is trying to go more fresh and local, and it seems to be easier that way because we actually order on a weekly basis, and whether it comes in or not is what I serve during the week . We always make a plan a month at a time, but it does change more often this year.
Despite some of the challenges, Kline says that she has developed a backup plan to make sure there is food on everyone’s plate.
“I use my freezer," Kline Said. "We ended up getting an extra freezer because we didn’t get the beef donated, so I put that all into one freezer and I have a backup in my freezer in case something does go awry.”
While there might be concerns in regards to the food shortages, Ulm Schools says that all students are being properly fed. The food program is also free to all students and staff.