But we've learned the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages are having a lasting impact on cafeterias in the area.

WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Western Mass News is getting answers. The school year is full-swing with students back in-person learning.

But we've learned the COVID-19 pandemic and staffing shortages are having a lasting impact on cafeterias in the area.

We spoke to Agawam and West Springfield school officials. They both said not every item on the school lunch menu may be available day today.

As for West Springfield, they say they are, specifically seeing a delay in delivery times.

“We are not worried about having enough food; we have food. It’s just setting back our expected deliveries for when we print out the menus,” West Springfield Superintendent Tim Connor said.

School lunch menus in some western Mass. communities may vary on a week-to-week basis depending on whether or not school districts receive their full food shipments.

“The timeline for delivery of the food has been challenging because a lot of the vendors are dealing with staffing issues and drivers,” Connor said.

Connor said they place their orders with Thurston Foods, and recently their products have not been arriving on time.

“Depending on the product, we might be two days behind, so what happens is basically, it changes our menu more than normal,” Connor explained.

But thankfully, Connor said they are always two weeks ahead of schedule on placing orders so, there is no time without any lunches.

“When we put our orders in, we are always two weeks ahead so, we always have the food. It may change what the lunch is for the day, depending on the supply,” Connor said.

Western Mass News is getting answers. We reached to the company that delivers the food for the West Springfield district.

The CEO Peter Malone tells us there is a supply and staffing shortage across the board.

“We literally have been trying to hire warehouse staff and transportation staff every day since probably close to a year,” Malone said.

He said the longtime family-owned company has taken pride in next-day delivery, but he says without the proper staff and products they are on a two-day backup.

“This time of the year should be overflowing. I shouldn't be able to see an empty space. I can look from one side of the warehouse. I shouldn't be able to do that just because we can’t get product,” Malone said.

We also reached out to Sodexo, the food delivery company for the Springfield School district. A spokesperson tells us in part, quote, “School officials say so far, they have not been impacted by a shortage in supplies, but Sodexo has notified them in anticipation of any issues.”

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