labor shortage

Shortage of Truck Drivers Forces Church to Cancel Pumpkin Patch

NBCUniversal, Inc.

From big businesses to small nonprofits, the holidays are already becoming complicated because of supply chain problems.

Fall usually means the yard at The Woods United Methodist Church in Grand Prairie is full of pumpkins.

“Everybody is really disappointed that we weren't able to get them but realize, in the scheme of things, our problem is very small,” said Pastor Kim Poer.

Poer says the church had to cancel its pumpkin patch this year because its growers - the Navajo Nation in New Mexico - were unable to ship their pumpkins due to a shortage of truck drivers.

“We feel really bad for the growers who now have fields full of pumpkins that they can’t deliver,” Poer said.

The problem is yet another consequence of the COVID-19-related shipping crisis.

From congested ports to truck driver shortages, there's a major slow down getting products on shelves just as holiday demand picks up.

Spirit Halloween, which operates about 1,400 pop-up locations across the country, has been haunted by shipping delays.

"As a customer, you might notice some bald spots,” said Steven Silverstein, CEO of Spirit Halloween.

A crucial link in the supply chain is the trucking industry.

But with the country down some 60,000 truck drivers nationwide and a lack of trucks, experts say it is facing the most challenging labor picture of all.

“They can't get the materials, they don't have enough labor to build the parts that go on the trucks so all those things are now happening like a perfect storm,” said Tom Wentworth with Allstate Peterbilt.

Poer and her church community are hoping next year delivers.

“We'll keep trying,” she said.

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