Not many of us think before wasting a plate of food. However, a school district partnered with a food rescue organization to convert its unused cafeteria food to feed its hungry students.
Throwing away large amounts of uneaten, good food is a sight we all might have seen. While there could be a kid or a family in the neighborhood that's is struggling to find enough food, the thought of giving away to the needy does not come to many. However, a school district in Indiana decided to make use of the excess food they had to help kids in need.
The Elkhart School District of Indiana has started saving their excess food to package it for kids to take home in the weekends. The school which serves breakfast and lunch are the only dependant source of food for these children who belong to humble households. During weekends of no school, these children find it difficult to feed themselves. Understanding the issues faced by its students and noticing the amount of food that was thrown into the bin after the cafeteria meal, the school district found a way to tackle poverty and food wastage.
“At Elkhart Community Schools, we were wasting a lot of food. There wasn't anything to do with the food," said Natalie Bickel from the student services to WSBT.
In an effort to tackle the two problems, the school authorities partnered with the South Bend-based non-profit Cultivate Culinary that provided packaged weekend meals to a small group of students in the elementary school pilot program.
“Mostly, we rescue food that’s been made but never served by catering companies, large food service businesses, like the school system," said Jim Conklin of Cultivate Culinary said to WSBT. "You don't always think of a school."
The food rescue organization is known to reuse food that usually goes to waste and combines it with other food items to make individually frozen food kit out of it to supply it as per need. “Over-preparing is just part of what happens. We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it," said Conklin to WSBT.
In charge of the food rescue program at the Elkhart School District of Indiana, the volunteers of the organization visited the schools three times a week and rescued the food. They collected, packaged and froze unused food from school lunches to make individual packages for students.
Elkhart Schools (#indiana) & Michiana innovators Cultivate Culinary are tackling issues of hunger & food waste through an amazing pilot. This is the sort of creative problem-solving I see in Elkhart & St. Joe Counties. It’s #MidwestMagic. #ideasworthtrying https://t.co/u125QdrqCW— Molly G. Martin (@mollygmartin) April 4, 2019
The programme was also supported by the Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Academy Commerce. The successful efforts by the authorities have brightened up the lives of 20 at-risk students who will be given a backpack containing eight frozen meals for their weekend at home every Friday till the end of the year.
“It’s making a big impact, I am proud of that. It was heartbreaking to hear that children go home on the weekends and that they don't have anything to eat,” said Melissa Ramey of the Chamber Leadership Academy.
This step by the Elkhart school system has made a huge difference in the lives of these children. They hope to extend the programme to a larger group of needy students.