Here’s a challenge few if any people saw coming: Alabama schools are experiencing food shortages.
This week, Alexander City Schools asked parents to feed their children at home before sending them to school or send snacks or other food with them, because there’s no guarantee there’ll be anything to feed them at the schoolhouse.
In Dothan, city school Superintendent Dennis Coe initially warned parents that if the situation worsens, they’d send the students home and return to remote learning, but later assured parents the system would find enough food for the students.
It’s not that we’re in dire economic times, although the result is the same. It’s because of a one-two punch from the coronavirus pandemic that has disrupted the usual flow of supplies and created a dearth of available workers.
For some public school families, it’s an inconvenience. They’ll have to factor in meals for their school-age children and make sure they remember to take them to school.
For many others, however, it means they’ll go hungry.
A large percentage of Alabama’s public school student population are eligible for free or reduced lunch, participate in a breakfast program, or both. For some, the meals they get at school are the only nutritious plates they’ll get all day.
This is not a drawback that should cripple the educational process. School officials must rise to the challenge and find alternative ways to fill their larders, perhaps through business relationships with a variety of food vendors, or even contracts with local producers. Barring other solutions, there are surely many local caterers and restaurants who would entertain the opportunity to feed their communities’ students at a fair price.