Students don't have much choice when it comes to what foods they can choose in the cafeteria. We all remember when we liked more of something and less of another thing. When sitting down to eat our lunch, we grumbled when we finished what we liked and left behind whatever we didn't.
The federal lunch program requires students to take a certain amount of food, and what's been leftover cannot be served again the following day, even if it's packaged and uneaten.
The "share table" program has encouraged several schools in the U.S. to prevent wasting food, which in turn is helping to feed hungry children.
Yesterday our Santee Health Academy students piloted their first Sharetable during lunch. The sharetable is meant to help eliminate food waste and student hunger by encouraging students to drop off the prepackaged food they don't want and picking up extra food if they are hungry. We are excited for the official launch next school year! #Healthacademy #youthengagement #SouthLA #endfoodwaste #endhunger #sharetable
The USDA-run initiative has been going on since last year!
Here's how it works...
Students can drop off any unopened food or drink onto the share table, and anyone can come by throughout the day and take what they like. At the end of the school day, whatever food is leftover is sent to a local food bank or charity.
Take it from a Nick Iannone, an eighth-grader who started a share table at his middle school in Connecticut: "Students that are maybe less fortunate than others, don't have a lunch or a snack at school lunch, they can come up and take fruit or we've seen things like chips and yogurt come off the tables."
Also, the share table eliminates stigma.
"Most kids usually just stay within their friend group and talk amongst themselves," Nick reported. "No one really cares what happens, what goes on around the food table."
Tune in to Twitter tomorrow at 1pm ET for a LIVE school lunch food waste audit (and 6th-grade silliness). Follow @melissaAterry or @foodfuelfuture on Twitter to find it. Meanwhile, there's a link in our profile to our new blog post about school food waste audits. * * #foodwaste #schoolfoodwaste #foodwasteaudit #education #STEM #sharetables #nofoodwasted #nokidhungry #savethefood #foodconservation #schoollunch #sustainability #sustainableschools #ivaluefood
Does your kid's school have a share table? Share this story to spread the word about this fantastic program!