Elementary School ‘Share Tables’ Keep Unwanted Lunch Food Out of Trash

Elementary School ‘Share Tables’ Keep Unwanted Lunch Food Out of Trash

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If sharing is caring, then these young students must care a lot.

The elementary schoolers of Orange County, Florida are cutting down on food waste by leaving the food that they don’t want at designated “share tables”.

The share tables mean that – instead of throwing out the snacks and meals that they don’t want – the kids can leave them out on the table for their fellow students, or grab food for themselves. Any food leftover on the table at the end of the day is either given to needy student families, or it is packaged up, donated to local churches, and distributed to the homeless community.

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According to the Orlando Sentinel, this innovative initiative has several benefits. For starters, kids from low-income families don’t have to worry about being able to afford lunchtime meals; the tables save hundreds of pounds of food from the trash; and school officials say that because kids don’t have surplus food at the end of the lunch period, they are less likely to play with their leftovers and cause a mess.

The tables are especially handy because the federal school lunch program requires students to take a certain amount of food items per meal, including a serving of fruit and vegetables – even if they don’t want the food.

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Additionally, since there is only one standard serving size, the meals may be too large for smaller kindergartners to finish, and too small for growing fifth graders to satiate their hunger.

Due to health code regulations, hot and non-packaged food items are not allowed at the share tables, but there is still more than enough nutritious food to go around.

Over 20 schools in the region have reportedly started using share tables since the initiative first started two years ago – and school representatives hope that more academic institutions will start their own.

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 (Photo by Amanda Mills, USCDCP)

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