Our Neighbors: “Lexington’s Diamond Middle School Launches Food Rescue Program”

Original post from the Patch – 

By Samantha Mercado, Patch Staff, Jan 6, 2020

The program’s objective is to “repurpose” untainted, well-preserved foods by donating them to nearby food pantries, soup kitchens, etc.

LEXINGTON, MA — On January 2, Diamond Middle School launched the Lexington Public School’s Food Rescue Program. The goal of the program is to aid in reducing food waste while helping tackle the issue of food insecurity. The program is anticipated to expand district-wide in the future, pending the outcome of the pilot program.

In Massachusetts alone, 616,090 people struggle with hunger and 159,950 are children according to Feeding America’s 2019 numbers. The program’s objective is to “repurpose” untainted, well-preserved foods by donating them to nearby food pantries, soup kitchens or shelters as needed. Food Link, out of Arlington, will be picking up the food and distributing it for donation.

The Food Rescue Program is a collaborative effort by Whitson’s Food Services staff, school staff, Lexington Public Schools Green Teams (LPSGT) parent volunteers, Food Link, and the Lexington Office of Public Health. The program is overseen by the Office of Public Health.

School staff & LPSGT parent volunteers will work with students to familiarize them with the program by teaching them how to properly preserve the food, and explaining the importance of reducing food waste. The Lexington Office of Public Health has approved the training protocols for school staff.

In 2014, the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection established a commercial organics food waste ban, applicable to commercial food establishments and processors producing more than 1 ton of food waste per week. Although public schools generating less than 1 ton of food waste per week are not mandated to divert food waste through this ban, we will now be ahead of the curve should the state commercial waste ban expand to include smaller generators of food waste.