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DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — Davidson County School Nutrition Director Daved Roberts wants parents to know it’s been hard securing food for the more than 18,000 students in the district. 

“Typically, we get some short items or some items that are out of stock on a normal year. This year, the list has grown exponentially,” Roberts said.

School nutritionists are scrambling.

“Where it would normally affect five or six cafeterias, now it’s affecting all 32 cafeterias which service 36 schools,” Roberts said.

Right now, only nine of the 32 school cafeterias in Davidson County are fully staffed.

There are 28 vacancies for cafeteria workers. 

“It comes down to we were already short on staff, and now that everyone can eat for free, we’re happy that they are participating, but we need to catch up with our staffing,” Roberts said.

The overload came when the USDA announced free lunch universally because of the pandemic. It caused a 9 percent increase in the school lunch demand districtwide. 

“We have to order two or three weeks ahead of time we have to predict the numbers,” Roberts said.

School leaders usually send a menu home a week in advance, so parents know what their kids are eating. There is always a chance of changes because of the food supply. 

“Typically, they get two or three entrée options. Now they only have two,” Roberts said.

The director of nutrition in Davidson County wanted FOX8 to point out they have never run out of food.

We also reached out to Guilford County school leaders who say they are having the same issues. 

Meanwhile, Forsyth County school leaders say they are not having food shortage issues.