PHILADELPHIA - Parents and guardians are furious over learning that their children who go to school at Mitchell Elementary School in Southwest Philly did not have their scheduled breakfast and lunch provided for them on Thursday.
"Five last night I’m in my son's bookbag to get homework and I see a letter and I read the letter and I’m like what. Nobody showed up to feed the kids," Catrese Hopewell said.
In the letter, the school explains food service staff did not report to Mitchell to serve breakfast or lunch.
Monica Lewis with the School District of Philadelphia says food in fact was on site but no one was there to distribute it.
"Everyday meals are delivered to schools the day before. The meals breakfast and lunch for Mitchell Elementary were delivered Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, the food services person for the school did not show up for work Thursday, so there was no one available to distribute the food," said Lewis
Instead, the principal and teachers at Mitchell sprung into action, attempting to order some 400 pizzas for the 400 students, some students were fed, but not all, according to the letter sent to parents.
Lewis said this is not standard procedure in the event of a no-show food service worker.
"The policy is that when that happens the school leader can reach out to food services to have a roving person be deployed to the school or to have a non-food service person in the team serve meals there," said Lewis.
Hopewell believes the school district is unprepared for the school year and never should have opened for in-person learning if staffing issues were so critical.
"They’re winging it. Bottom line, straight from a source at the School District, they’re winging it," she said.
Lewis says that's not the case.
"We are not winging it. We definitely have contingency plans in place. It’s just a matter of our staff understanding they have the support available and let us know," said Lewis