Manchester City Schools is planning to add Food Sharing Tables in the upcoming school year at each school. The program provides a system for students to safely share unwanted food items from their lunch tray with others.
“This was initially brought to me by teachers,” Director of School Nutrition Dana Morris told the board of education at the July board meeting.
She explained that the school system sees an enormous amount of food waste, but that the cafeterias cannot allow student to leave the lunch room with food.
“What if they take a perishable food item put in their locker for three weeks and then decide to eat it,” she said.
The Share Table will be a cart located near the exit or the serving line, which will be monitored by a school employee. Milk or perishable food will be kept in an ice bath to maintain a food safe temperature.
Shared food will be labeled to not be confused as for sale food. All shared food will be thrown away after lunch shift.
Students must place any food they intend to share on the cart before sitting down to prevent possible contamination. The cafeteria monitors will make sure that nothing has been opened or contaminated.
Items to be shared can be prepackaged food bars, drinks, crackers or cereal packs; wrapped fruit and vegetables, with thick skins, like bananas and oranges and can be temperature controlled items, such as cheese and milk.
“Coordinated School Health (Director) Leslie Brasfield is willing to purchase us a cart,” Morris said.
She said that notification will go out to parents in the What’s New in the Cafeteria newsletter.
The board members in attendance were all receptive to the proposed plan.