Update, September 25, 2019: The South Bend schools’ director of food service resigned this past Monday in the wake of the lunchtime food shortages, the South Bend Tribune reports.
“Our investigation exposed central office process issues and we needed to make the necessary adjustments in our food and nutrition department,” Superintendent Todd Cummings said in Monday’s statement. “As I said previously, running out of food for our students is unacceptable.”
A South Bend schools spokeswoman said that Victoria Moore, the now-former director of food service, had been “given other options” but chose to resign instead. (Those “other options” were unspecified.) Moore herself has not commented to the press about the food shortages, though she had said earlier that she would like to. The district’s contract with Chartwell, a private food service provider, begins October 21.
The district’s transportation director also resigned after a series of problems with school buses. It sounds like it’s been a very rough start to the school year in South Bend.
Original story, September 12, 2019: Several schools in South Bend, Indiana, ran out of food during lunch this week. The adults in charge resorted to feeding the kids a handful of tortilla chips or, in some cases, nothing at all.
Parents of students of all ages, ranging from elementary to high school, reported the food shortages on social media. The school board performed an investigation and concluded, according to a statement by Superintendent Todd Cummings published by the South Bend Tribune this morning, that the shortages were due “either to the incompetence or negligence” of the school district’s food and nutrition staff. Cummings and other school board members plan to staff the cafeterias themselves today to make sure all the students get fed. The school district has also approved a contract with an external company that will take over food service starting next month. In the meantime, if schools are running short on food, they can order reinforcements from area restaurants.
But this raises the question: When it became obvious there was a food shortage, why didn’t it occur to anybody to order some pizza for the kids? Yes, pizza is not the most nutritious lunch, but it’s way better than nothing.
As one angry parent told the Tribune, “You expect when you send your kids to school that they will be eating, and then you find out they aren’t fed. The kids are there for several hours, some have sports afterward and many parents rely on that one meal for food.”
Mayor Pete has yet to comment.