Peter Oshinski is the Manager of Child Nutrition Operations at Hayward Unified School District, and responsible for feeding 22,000 students a day in 31 schools. He is also a Consultant for the California Department of Education. In November of 2016, Peter contacted Food Rescue and expressed an interest in starting a Food Rescue program in their school district. He now travels from school to school sharing this skit, and encouraging schools not to feed landfills unopened and unpeeled food. After sharing our resources with him, we connected him with Nancy Deming of the Oakland Unified School District, one of many School Food Rescue champions across country, and the rest is history. We look forward to sharing HUSD's progress in the future, and I am sure they would be glad to share experience with others as they move toward district wide implementation.
Lebanon High School senior Kelsee Robinson saw food go to waste every day while eating lunch at school. She also knew that more than 10,000 citizens in Boone County do not have enough food. Robinson set out to find a solution to this problem, and after six months, is proud to bring Food Rescue to Lebanon Community School Corporation.
Robinson, who is completing a work-based learning experience at Boone County Extension, saw the need for this program in September. She knew that lunch waste contributed to increased methane gas, and wanted to recycle as much as possible. Robinson began working with the K-12 Food Rescue Program, a national initiative to connect schools with caring agencies to provide unpeeled, unopened, or unwanted food leftover from student lunches.
Robinson also worked with several community agencies to make her vision a reality. After partnering with the Caring Center to donate food items, Robinson collaborated with Boone County Health Department, Aramark, and the Solid Waste Management District to ensure compliance with USDA guidelines. The Lebanon Solid Waste Management District board worked with Robinson to purchase containers, and as part of a GenerationON grant to LMS, Lowes store #0012 donated a refrigerator for food storage.
The Lebanon Middle School Hi-Y club will be working to collect and store unopened food from breakfast and lunch. The students will collect and count food daily to feed the hungry in Boone County and keep food waste out of landfills. The program kicked off on March 14, 2017.
For more information, please contact Jen Todderud, Public Relations and Communications Coordinator, at 765-482-0380 or email@example.com.
Triple Pundit Article About K-12 Food Rescue, Beech Grove, and Chartwells K12 partnership.
How ‘Rescuing’ Food Teaches Students About Leadership
By Tarrah McCreary
Food belongs in stomachs, not in landfills. But unfortunately, an estimated 1 billion food items are discarded by K-12 students across the country each year, according to K12 Food Rescue.
As a socially responsible partner to school districts, Chartwells K12 wanted to do our part to ensure the healthy, great-tasting meals we serve are nourishing our students and community. So, last spring, we implemented a food rescue program at one of our schools in Indiana. After only five months, the food rescue program saw incredible success amongst middle- and high-school students – we rescued more than 11,200 food items!
How exactly are we ‘rescuing’ food? Kids in lunchrooms across America are tossing out perfectly good food – apples, juice boxes, unopened string cheeses, etc. Whether the child was full or just didn’t have time to eat it (they’re kids – who knows!), we wanted to put a stop to this in our café.
Chartwells K12 partnered with K12 Food Rescue to provide students with an alternative to discarding uneaten food. K12 Food Rescue provides us with bins that are set up in the school’s cafés where students can place certain uneaten or unopened items. Then, instead of being discarded, the food is brought to local charities.
What is truly unique about this program is it’s a student-led initiative. The students are responsible for managing the program; they oversee the collection process; and they encourage their peers to donate. Because it empowers students to make a real impact, we’ve found they’re more excited, eager and inclined to help. Not only are we reducing waste, but our students are also learning valuable lessons about sustainability and leadership that they’ll carry with them both inside and outside of the café walls.
The benefit of this is two-fold: First, we’re giving back to the local community. Second, we’re following our mission of sustainability by helping reduce waste and pollution. The more than 11,200 food items rescued thus far translates to about 2,250 meals and reduces carbon equivalent emissions by 1,400 pounds. That’s a huge impact for a district of 3,000 students!
While the execution of this program is simple, the implications for the students are far-reaching. Here are three reasons to give something similar a try at your own school district.
1. Instill knowledgeMany children, especially elementary-level students, don’t realize the impact they personally have on the environment. Start by making them aware of their personal choices and what they can do to contribute to a greener community.
This is also a good opportunity to teach children about giving back. ‘Rescuing’ food items provides a tangible example to help kids connect the dots on how they can help others within their community.
2. Develop leadership skillsThe food rescue program is also an opportunity to empower individual students with leadership roles. While the exact responsibilities of food rescue student leader or leaders can vary, their role is the same at its core. Student leaders help collect and track all rescued food items and encourage their fellow students to further participate in the program.
The program also inspired positive peer pressure: Many students remind their friends not to throw out their food and instead place it in the donation bins. Since the program started, the number of students participating has steadily increased.
The student leadership aspect of this program is key and a big reason why it’s so successful. It helps the students feel empowered and gives them ownership of what to do with their uneaten food and where it actually goes. Without it, many might see it as another school-mandated initiative and not feel as much pride in their good work.
3. Showcase results. Finally, it’s important for students to see the results of their hard work in order to stay engaged. Provide regular updates on the progress of the food rescue program, share when milestones have been met, and keep students informed on the most current stats for their school and district.
K12 Food Rescue sets up partner schools with an online dashboard that gives kids a quick glance at their monthly food rescue stats. The kids are always excited to see the monthly metrics and work hard to top the previous months’ results.
The bottom lineThe food rescue program we implemented has been incredibly successful, and we feel it can be easily replicated by students across the country. We’re excited to take our program even further in 2017 by expanding our student leadership opportunities, turning the program into a formal club, and bringing it to more Chartwells K12 schools around the country.
ICourtesy of the author
Tarrah McCreary is a resident dietitian at Chartwells K12, a provider of dining services for school districts across the country. Chartwells K12 is built on decades of food and education experience and driven by top culinary, nutrition, wellness, and sustainability talent.
Check out one of the best student K-12 Food Rescue videos ever submitted! Then read
the blog post on how Emerson Elementary was able to start a K-12 Food Rescue Program
in Salt Lake City Utah.
Why Do We Rescue Food at Emerson Elementary School?
By Monica Carlson
May 22, 2017
Over dinner several months ago, my 10-year-old daughter shared something that caught her attention during lunch in her school cafeteria. “Mom,” she said, “we throw so much food away during lunch at school! It’s ridiculous.” As I asked her more about what she observed, we briefly discussed what a shame it was that perfectly good food would go to waste - not only at her school, but across the country and even in our own home. Fast forward to a month later in early 2017, when I began researching food waste initiatives across the country and came across John Williamson’s organization, Food Rescue. As I began to learn more about food recovery efforts across the country, I realized the enormous impact schools can have on diverting unused, healthy food out of landfills and into their own communities. Our elementary school had already implemented a share table during lunch, which enabled students to place unused and uneaten food in a common area where others could grab as they pleased. Our goal was to take this a step further and divert those items left over at the end of each day. I reached out to our School Community Council and our school’s principal, and within two months we had received the support and resources we needed to get our school’s Food Rescue program off and running. John’s guidance, and the wealth of resources he provides both on his site and via email, were instrumental in assisting me with how to move the program from its initial planning stages to full implementation. With the help of a small parent committee, as well as dozens of parents willing to volunteer during lunch time for our initial food waste audit and the first two weeks of implementation, our program has taken off and is becoming a part of the school’s culture. I anticipate that in the coming school year, our “Operation Food Rescue” program will become more integrated and provide students with great leadership and community service opportunities.
In Salt Lake City, we face a homelessness crisis that cannot be ignored. By partnering with a local nonprofit we have begun donating healthy food items like cheese sticks, individually packaged sandwiches, fruits, apple juice, and of course, milk, to people who are most in need. The feedback we’ve received from this nonprofit has been very positive and we look forward to continuing to provide these nutritious snacks. In the past month alone, we have donated over 1170 items, translating into 234 meals served and 146 pounds of CO2e reduced. Of course, we couldn’t have done this without the support of our school’s principal, support from parents and teachers, and our very own students engaging in this daily act of kindness.We’re grateful to have found Food Rescue program models across the country to inspire us and help us along, as well as John’s vision to strengthen our communities and environment through service stewardship. Viva Food Rescue!