For Woodland Elementary School caterers, it is unavoidable to see some portions of uneaten food to go to waste but the situation now has been reversed thanks to a new pilot program.
The new pilot program was introduced to reduce food waste and to turn any uneaten and unused food that usually would have gone to waste into meals for students in need.
Woodland Elementary School in Elkhart was chosen for the pilot program as the school has a high number of students who are qualified to have free and reduced meals.
Since the program began, 20 students have benefited from the program as they took home frozen meals in insulated backpacks that could last them over the weekend.
The food program started off when Cultivate, a non-profit based in South Bend partnered with local universities, restaurants and grocery stores like the University of Notre Dame and Nelson’s Chicken to reduce food waste.
The food that is not going to be eaten at the end of the day will be collected by Cultivate and they will repackage and deliver it to the people who need it.
Before the program, food that was never served from Elkhart Schools kitchens was thrown away.
After the program was introduced, the food now will be sent to students in need.
Each pre-packaged meal has a protein, vegetable and carbohydrate component.
“Elkhart Community Schools maintains a high level of efficiency in their food services operations and continuously adjusts processes as needed to maintain efficiency, but ultimately, in an organization that serves over 12,000 students, there is a small amount of food that goes unused,” Natalie Bickel, the supervisor of student services for Elkhart Community Schools told MNN.
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“Our hardworking building administrators and social workers are constantly engaging with families and aware of the challenges some families face.”
We want to thank everyone who has taken the time to contact us and request more information regarding how they can start…
“The school reached out to families who may be in food-insecure situations and asked if they would be interested,” she continued.
“In learning this, Cultivate saw an opportunity to rescue the food, process it through their facility, and create complete frozen meals to give back to the students at Woodland Elementary to serve their nutritional needs over the weekend,” she continued.
Bickel hopes that the program will continue to run smoothly and grow as more uneaten foods become available.
Cultivate is very excited to partner with the Greater Elkhart Chamber of Commerce Leadership Academy and be apart of the pilot backpack program starting at Woodland Elementary School!
Credit: Mother Nature Network