Hear Cathy’s inspiring journey with K-12 Food Rescue partner Helping Hands Ending Hunger. In this episode, Cathy discusses how many participating schools continued their food rescue programs during Covid 19.
My name is Sophie Harward, and I am the student founder of Helping Hands Ending Hunger. The idea for the program started 3 years ago when my Mom told me that a couple of kids in my elementary school had come to school on Monday without eating any food over the weekend after their parents had been seen digging through the dumpster after a Friday night football game. Because she was a parent volunteer at my school, teachers asked her to help put together a food basket for these children. It dawned on me that there was a lot of uneaten food in the school cafeteria during each breakfast and lunch. My idea was that food could be used to feed this family and any others that needed food to eat over the weekends and school breaks.
However, I also had heard teachers complain that they had try to collect uneaten food from the school cafeteria to send home with needy students and had been told by officials they couldn’t do it. My Mom is a retired lawyer, and I knew she could help convince officials that throwing perfectly good food away was not better than feeding children who needed food. After a lot of time and effort talking with numerous officials in the state of Georgia, Helping Hands was given the green light to proceed. We started with a pilot at my school in my hometown of Trion, Georgia and now are operating in schools around the state.
Our mission is to empower students to repurpose unopened food from school cafeterias and join hands with their communities to feed hungry families. While we focus our efforts on schools in Georgia now, we hope to expand our program to schools nationwide in the near future. In doing so, we hope to be a leader in the effort to alleviate childhood food insecurity, reduce food waste, promote education equity and ultimately shape a better world.