INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – It’s an issue parents see all the time. Children don’t eat all their food. The organization, Food Rescue reports that more than two billion items of food is tossed into landfills each year from school lunches across the country.
Indiana is actually leading the way in redistributing that food to the people who need it the most.
At New Augusta South, their children recently started working with Food Rescue because 5th grade teacher Kristie Wallace saw what was happening during breakfast and lunch times.
“I see how much food is wasted,” said Wallace.
For a school project, Wallace asked her students to consider how much food they waste, and that’s when they got involved with Food Rescue. Jennifer Brilliant, Food Rescue spokesperson, said New Augusta South has done a great job in a short amount of time.
“We connect schools with the caring agency,” said Brilliant. “So in Marion County our primary partner is Second Helpings.”
Instead of going in the garbage, students put their uneaten, untouched food in baskets. From milk, to apples and raisins, it’s not going in the trash.
“The good part is we’re saving food for homeless and poor people,” said 5th grader Ben Asege. “The bad thing is we’re wasting a lot of food.”
It’s a big lesson for students, seeing that they can take action. It’s been eye opening for the educators too.
“Well, we started when we came back in April and since April we have rescued over 14,000 close to 15,000 items of food,” said Wallace.
New Augusta South is the first school in Pike Township to try Food Rescue. Statewide, lots of schools have been making a difference already.
“We have 15 percent of our schools here in Indiana, roughly 350 schools that participate at some level in Food Rescue, which is the most out of any state in the country,” said Brilliant.
Indiana is really leading the way too. Other states are trying to follow what Hoosier schools are doing.
“We were the very first state to have state guidelines for food donations within the school,” said Brilliant. “Those guidelines came out of the Indiana Department of Health and Department of Education under advisement of Food Rescue.”
New Augusta South Principal Nikki Henson commends her teachers and the students for what they’ve done in just weeks, and looks forward to the food that will be rescued next school year.
“I’m super proud, super proud, and they are such student leaders,” said Henson. “They’re thinking about it outside of the school day.”
Food Rescue said all Hamilton County schools take part in Food Rescue, and they welcome more schools to join their mission.