School Turns Lunchtime Leftovers into Take-Home Meals So No Student Goes Hungry

Food Waste in Schools

Stock Photos from Africa Studi /Shutterstock

The Elkhart school district in Indiana is going above and beyond to make sure its students have enough to eat. They have teamed up with Cultivate, a local non-profit, which does “food rescue” and saves fare that was prepared but never served during breakfast and lunch. Woodland Elementary is the site of its pilot program. Students in need of nourishment during the weekend are sent home with enough food to get by until the following Monday rolls around.

The program solves a problem that many students struggle with each week. All Elkhart students have the opportunity to get breakfast and lunch from the cafeteria, but for some, these meals are the only steady source of food in their lives. The take-home meals offer a way to feed those who need help outside of school hours.

One ingenious aspect of the program is that the cafeteria isn’t having to prepare more food. The cooks at Woodland—like most schools—over prepare for their students. The food that goes unserved is typically discarded at the end of the day—but not anymore! Cultivate visits the school three days a week and packages good leftovers into frozen meals. On Fridays, 20 students are given a backpack with eight meals inside.

The Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Academy helped to launch the take-home meal program. “It’s making a big impact,” Melissa Ramey of the Chamber Leadership Academy says. “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.” Thanks to its success, the district plans to expand the program to other schools.

h/t: [Mental Floss]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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