Majority of students affected by food shortage

Graciela Paramo , reporter

The majority of Morton East students say they are affected by the food shortage at home.

According to students, 56 out of 100 students randomly surveyed report their families have been affected by the current food shortage.  As many have probably noticed shelves at grocery stores have been looking empty lately, and prices have increased.   It seems meat products are some of the highest priced right now.   According to Yahoo News, “Wells Fargo looked at inflation in January and found that steak saw a whopping 23% price increase from the previous year while boneless chicken wings were up 26%. The latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, released on February 10 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, told a similar story.  CPI rose by 7.5% year-over-year in January, the highest jump in 40 years. The cost to eat at home rose 1% during the month while dining out prices rose 0.7%.”

Students have felt the shortage in their snacks.  Many have complained Flamin’ Hot Cheetos have been harder and harder to find at stores. According to the U.S Sun, “Shortages of packaging materials, seasoning, oil, and starches were also said to be making production challenging, as ocean freight, port congestion, and rail issues are affecting global supply chains, including Frito-Lay.” Fortunatley, most economists presume that the supply chain will go back to normal at some point this year.

The food shortage is causing some changes at the school as well.

“I try to stock up, and just adjust the menu as needed.  Sometimes I have to change what we’re going to serve because I don’t have it. For example (we were) serving turkey burgers in the beginning of the year; I don’t have that anymore, so I have to find a replacement,” food service manager Betty Tinken said.

It also seems we can all agree that prices for meat have gone up along with other basic home essentials.

“Yes, the price of meat is up, as is the price of pork and processed foods.   We got a 3% raise on our food that we buy from our distributor for our school,” food service manager Betty Tinken said.  “Paper goods are also up; our prices have gone up and (paper goods are) more limited now (paper goods).”

For some, the changes have been slight.

“I haven’t really noticed (the shortage).  The most I’ve noticed is (the absence of) hot Cheetos, (that) the media has been talking about. But, otherwise I can’t really think of anything else, ”  social science teacher Ms. Joy Davila said.

Another member of the community agrees.

“I don’t really have an experience to tell since I don’t really grocery shop for myself, but I have seen a shortage in Cheetos, I haven’t been able to find my favorite flavor of Cheetos,” retail worker Esther Paramo said.

Many are thinking it definitely has something to do with the economy, transportation and distribution — getting the food from where it’s grown and procesessed to the grocery store shelves.  Obviously, covid-19 plays a part in this too.

“Overall, I think it has to do with driver shortages, not enough drivers trying to ship the products to the stores and stuff like that. I think a lot of it has to do with the workers not working for different reasons. But, I think primarily its semi-truck drivers not being able to deliver to stores,” social science teacher Ms. Davila said.

The Morton food service department feels the effects directly, and agrees.

“(Shortages and rising costs come from) supply and demand.  Simply put, there are not enough people working, not enough factory workers, truck drivers, and distributors,” food service manager Betty Tinken said.

Another member of the community agreed it for sure had to be something with the truck drivers and workers.

“Si por que tal vez no hay suficientes repartidores para los alimetos y no llegan a los mercados o vienen tardes,” Cicero resident Graciela Mejia said.

Some think it might have to do with how supply and demand works.

“Por lo de la pandemia yo creo que porque la jente se enferma no puede ir a trabajar, y creo que eso es el causa de los escajes no hay suficente mano de hobra,” Cicero resident Graciela Mejia said.

Covid-19 still might be playing a part in delivery services.

” I think a lot of it has to do with the impact of covid-19,  I think a lot of it has something to do with people not working, getting sick or even some choosing not to work, and that’s causing a shortage in products.  (There are) not enough people to transport products, no one to stock items, and if there’s no one to work, I think that’s what’s causing these shortages of products, rising prices and so on,” social science teacher Ms. Davila said.

Others have their own conspiracies as to why the shelves at the grocery store are starting to look emptier.

“I think (there’s a worker shortage because employers are) not paying workers enough. Slow work hours during Feb-Jan after all the holidays are over (result in) not enough payroll to pay employees, so less employees show up at work,” retail worker Esther Paramo said.

Many have already adjusted so their grocery bill lines up with their budgets and also provided some tips for other to help save money during this hard time.

“I do think people should budget more.  Some tips would be making a shopping list of what you want to buy and try to stick to that list cause sometimes you add more extra stuff to your cart,,” social science teacher Ms. Davila said.

Also, make sure you have enough money to pay for the essentials up front.

“I think budgeting is a good idea because you can see exactly how much you’re spending.  Organize (your expenses) to pay for rent, groceries and utilities, and cut out unnecessary spending,” retail worker Esther Paramo said.

It’s also a good idea to shop carefully, buying staples that are versatile, long lasting, and most importantly, cheap.

“Food that lasts the longest would be like rice, beans, potatoes, they last for a while. For example, potatoes are versatile; you can make lots of things with potatoes, and rice is something that doesn’t go bad.  And, beans, canned foods and pasta (are all good to buy right now), ” social science teacher Ms. Davila said.

Even inexperienced shoppers agree.

“I don’t grocery shop often but (buying) rice, beans, maybe chicken is (smart), as well as milk and eggs.  And,  prepare meals beforehand to properly portion each meal, “ Cicero resident Esther Paramo said.