According to the Food Rescue organization, over 22 million usable food items are discarded annually by school children throughout Indiana. The purpose of Food Rescue is to prevent food from going into landfills. Landfills today are overflowing and it is important to divert items that can be “recycled” instead of buried as waste in order to save space. Usable food can be recycled by giving it away to other organizations that can use it.
The School City of Hammond (Hammond) and the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana (Food Bank) have partnered to recycle food from our schools and donate it to homeless shelters and soup kitchens in Hammond so that it does not go into the landfill. Instead of throwing all the uneaten produce, milk, yogurt, juice, and packaged grain items away, students will be asked to place unopened packaged food into bins marked for the K-12 Food Rescue program. Hammond and the Food Bank were partnered through the efforts of Food Rescue, an Indiana not-for-profit company that has been connecting usable food from restaurants, groceries, and schools with charities since 2007. Dr. Boettger, Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Hammond met John Williamson from Food Rescue at the Indiana School Nutrition Association Conference last fall and inquired about starting a K-12 Food Rescue program in Hammond. Williamson set up the meeting between the schools and Arleen Peterson, Executive Director of the Food Bank.
Each Thursday, beginning January 29th, the Food Bank will collect the food from Harding, Jefferson, and O’Bannon Elementary Schools in Hammond and distribute it to soup kitchens, food pantries, and other charities that the Food Bank serves in the Hammond community. Food collections will be logged so that the value in terms of numbers of meals donated can be tracked. After the K-12 Food Rescue program is running smoothly in the pilot schools it will be rolled out at all 22 of Hammond’s school sites. Food Rescue’s goal is to have all 2024 Indiana schools participating in K-12 Food Rescue by the end of 2017.
For other organizations thinking of recycling food, there are many benefits of partnership in the Food Rescue Program with the Food Bank
Donations may be tax deductible
There is no liability to you under the Good Samaritan Food Donor Act of 1996
Food Bank will pick up your donation free of charge; no dumping or storage costs
Most importantly, you will be helping hungry men, women, and children by providing quality nutritious food.