Students just crack us up at Food Rescue! They tell the school food waste story and solution so much better than anyone else. This one will go into our student videos link! Thanks Connersville and Fayette County Schools for playing a leadership role in saying no to the insanity of school food waste!
The Zionsville Food Pantry has paired with several schools in Zionsville as part of the Food Rescue Program. Initiated by Zionsville Middle School, and now happening at Pleasant View Elementary and Zionsville West Middle School, students are encouraged to donate food they do not eat at lunch to the Food Rescue Program. We learned a few years ago of a need our clients have for after school snacks or foods their children can eat on their own. We called these items “individual serving items” and added them to our menu. The Food Rescue Program provides our individual serving items. We’ve been able to keep them on our menu as a choice for our clients every week because of the program. Another exciting aspect is that as the school children have learned they can donate food not eaten, the program has grown. We anticipate starting in the Fall a second weekly pick up from the schools. The Caring Center in Lebanon will receive a weekly pick up as well!
Zionsville Food Pantry
Susan Harding is the Food Service Director at Jennings County School Corporation. Susan attended the Indiana State Nutrition Association Conference in Indianapolis in October of 2014, and Food Rescue provided her with educational resources and encouragement to begin the process of starting a K-12 Food Rescue program in Jennings County. She agreed to submit this guest blog post below.
Above are some pictures from some of our schools including Sand Creek, North Vernon, and Graham Creek, as well as a photo of the JCMS Homeless shelter. We are having great success with our sharing tables.
At the elementary schools they are in the process of creating a food bank for their students. At Jennings County Middle School, we donate items to the Wayside Inn, our local homeless shelter. At Jennings County High School we already have the Panther Pantry established and donate to that. It is a food pantry that is open to the community on certain days of the month.
Thanks for putting the pictures on your website. We are glad to have the sharing tables and to donate to our local non-profit organizations.
Food Service Director
Jennings County School Corporation
In 2009, Food Rescue searched for a chapter president in Charlotte, NC. Jocelyn Challas answered that call. A few years later Mike Cookman over the mantle, and out of that opportunity, The Food Recovery Group in Charlotte was born.
When a High School Student in Charlotte became interested in solving the school food waste issue, her research led her to find Mike, and he connected the amazing Hanna Wondmagegn with Food Rescue, and below is her story. Hanna will be delivering at Ted Talk in April, and we are very excited to share her story here, and support her efforts and vision to see K-12 Food Rescue expand throughout the country, and make the 1 billion food items wasted annually in our schools a thing of the past. Food Rescue is so proud of Hanna, and we know students across the nation can and will follow her leadership.
Food Recovery At East Mecklenburg High School
By Hanna Wondmagegn
Hunger is an issue that people have been trying to combat for many years and the answer is right in front of our faces. If one was to sit in a school cafeteria, the amount of uneaten food that is thrown away is incredible! All of that food has the potential to feeding so many people in the community and potentially the whole nation if every school found a way to collect the uneaten food.
My sophomore year of high school, I took a trip to my old elementary school and I noticed something incredible: little kids, no taller than my elbow were spilling out the milk they had opened and were recycling the cartons. That got me to thinking that if young children are able to do something like recycle milk cartons, then surely older students could do the same? I realized, I’m in the cafeteria, where there is food, so let’s change something there.
Immediately I began researching information about organizations in Charlotte that would be willing to pick up uneaten school foods from the schools. I was astonished to realize that there was not any organization that took advantage of the school food waste! I came across the Food Recovery Group based in North Carolina and contacted President Mike Cookman about the idea of collecting school food. He immediately responded and said that he would be willing to work with us.
That night, Food Rescue in my school was born, a program where pre-packaged, uneaten food is collected during all lunches and breakfasts every day and then is picked up by an organization who distributes the food to people in need. The setup is simple: a cooler with ice sitting in the cafeteria and when the bell rings, instead of people throwing uneaten food away, they take it to the cooler to be saved. The food is then collected by our EC kids and Congress students who then take it to a fridge where the organization then picks up the food.
Initially, it was very difficult to start the program because there was not a Food Rescue Program anywhere in North Carolina or in the South for that matter. I came across K-12 Food Rescue in Indiana and Mike helped me get in contact with President John Williamson. John was immediately on board and sent me invaluable documents, paperwork and suggestions that helped frame the program at East Meck and will make it easier for any future programs in North Carolina.
As of today, we have recovered over 4,100 food items and with this program, many more food items can be recovered and sent to people who may not have much to eat. The K-12 Food Rescue Program is a revolutionary program that schools across the nation should not hesitate to implement; reducing food waste, feeding the hungry and saving the world, what’s not to love?