School Food Donation Programs

Original post from The Green Team News – 
December 2019.

Are you interested in making sure that wasted food from your school cafeteria does not end up in the trash? THE GREEN TEAM has resources to help your school implement a program to donate uneaten prepared or packaged food. The following information can help you start or expand a food donation program:

  • Most categories of food can be donated. Massachusetts law provides protection from liability for the donation of food that is ‘apparently wholesome’ without visible quality issues, as well as for food that is past date, so long as that food was handled in accordance with state food safety regulations. For more information about Liability Protection, see the Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic fact sheet.
  • Involving students in your food donation program is a great way to educate them about food security issues and the importance of reducing wasted food. Form food recovery teams made up of students that help educate their peers on which food items can be donated and which can be composted. These student teams can also help with donation collection and drop-off.
  • Share tables are a great way to reduce the amount of wasted food and encourage the consumption of food served in the cafeteria. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education describes how to implement a share table program to safely share uneaten packaged food and whole fruits in the cafeteria. The State of Vermont also has a tip sheet on this topic.
  • For more information on establishing a food donation program, visit the RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts Food Donation Guidance page. Additionally, THE GREEN TEAM Food Waste Reduction page offers detailed guidance on starting a program to divert wasted food from disposal.