Gwinnett Schools affected by Hostess shutdown

SUWANEE -- Gwinnett County Public Schools is seeking new businesses to provide fresh bread to its students after Hostess shut down its operations just before Thanksgiving.

District Spokeswoman Sloan Roach said the contract with Hostess for bread items, including hamburger and hot dog buns and loaf bread became null after the company ceased operations.

"We have issued a bid to acquire a new provider," Roach said. "To address any delivery issues in the interim, we are making menu adjustments and substitutions. In addition, we are acquiring bread from other sources as a short-term solution."

Karen Hallford, who is nutrition education coordinator of GCPS, said the company's decision to close "did take us by surprise, and our schools get the fresh bread delivered twice a week, and we serve 120,000 lunches a day. A lot of our entrees are served on buns and loaf bread. It was definitely a large impact."

Hallford said, however, that schools "have emergency food backup plans for when they don't have access to something in the kitchen, and other schools had fresh bread on hand."

Added Hallford: "We saw a lot of sharing going on, and we typically do have more than one supplier. Hostess, however, was a major supplier, and we've been sort of piecing things together for a few weeks while we look for another major supplier."

Hostess Brands Inc. received final approval for its wind-down plans in court this week, setting the stage for its iconic snack cakes to find a second life with new owners -- even as 18,000 jobs will be lost.

According to its website, Hostess Brands was founded in 1930 and based in Irving, Texas. Hostess Brands' products have included brands such as Hostess, Wonder, Nature's Pride, Dolly Madison, Drake's, Butternut, Home Pride and Merita.

--The Associated Press contributed to this story.