Ever since my first years of elementary school, I have noticed the amount and severity of food waste in the cafeteria. Perfectly good items are constantly being thrown away while people in our community struggle to find where their next meal will come from. After many years of seeing the meals in the garbage, I took the initiative and did something about it.
The beginning of my Sophomore year, I started and organized a Food Recovery Program at our high school. All unused, unwanted, and wrapped food is picked up and distributed by Fresno Metro Ministry, an organization that advocates for the health and well-being of the less fortunate. This is a daily program which I oversee making sure that everything is being done correctly. We feed 75-200 people a day from the Bullard site! Bullard is the only high school in our district that has a Food Recovery Program and I have recently expanded this program to the 10 elementary and 3 middle schools in the Bullard region. I personally met and discussed the program with every principal in those schools and they were all enthused and eager to have their school participate. We are now beginning to make this a district wide program with more than 100 schools participating.
The complete story can be both seen and viewed at the link below.
Bullard High School
1 California District's K-12 Food Rescue program Rescued 290,000 Pounds Or Over 1 Million Food Items in 20 Months
Food Rescue's entire vision, hopes, and dreams are summed up in this story from the San Diego Unified School District in California.
Janet Whited is the Environmental Specialist in the operations division of the 180 school San Diego Unified School District. Janet recently entered her first entry for the district below using Food Rescue's online tracking tool, and she sent Food Rescue an email saying:
"I have used your website, tools, and information over the years to finally get some movement in our district on Food Rescue and food waste reduction.........I manage the waste and recycling contract for the district and support our schools in their waste diversion and environmental efforts. Regarding our food rescue/donation program.......We have 19 preparation/production kitchens that serve our 180 schools, plus some charter schools. The program was started in September 2016 at one production kitchen “cluster” of schools and was expanded that school year to all of our production kitchens/schools by the end of May 2017. This 2017-18 school year started with all schools participating right off the bat. From September 2016 through April 2018, we have rescued over 290,800 lbs. of food from landfill disposal. I’m working more on formalizing Share Tables at our schools so they will be compliant with local health department regulations, which will enable us to rescue even more food/milk.
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.