100K Meals Campaign: Program at Short Pump Elementary eliminates food waste

Henrico County

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — I’m sure your mom told you many times to stop wasting your food.

Well, in one Henrico County school, they are taking that idea to the next level. They’re helping to extend meals throughout the day, so kids will not go hungry.

Cafeteria Manager at Short Pump Elementary School, Neil Stevens, started the “Share Table Program” to eliminate waste. He said the program is modeled after a similar program he saw at a summer school. 

“I saw a lot of prepackaged products that came from the cafeteria going directly into the trash and then I thought, ‘what about all of the hungry children out there? There’s got to be something done about this?’” Stevens pondered. 

Stevens told 8News Meteorologist Matt DiNardo how the program works. 

“The monitors carry around a caddy — a little bin that they put on the table as the kids get up, and they say “hey, do you have any milk, any other dairy like yogurts, cheese, any snacks?’ The monitor after that brings it over to the shared counter area and they assimilate it into the proper bins, and then the kids can raise their hand and ask to go to the share counter and grab something.”

Kids can snack, so they don’t go hungry and can continue to learn and thrive in the classroom.

Peggy Gordon, Director of Nutrition Services for Henrico County Schools, said test scores are high, and there are fewer behavioral problems and discipline reviews.”

“We all know a hungry child cannot learn,” Gordon said. 

Now, more and more kids are eating breakfast and lunch in the school cafeteria. 

“We did on average 175. We do around 200 now,” Stevens said. “On Friday’s, we do about 300 because kids love their pizza and that is Pizza Day.”

You can help out the 100K Meals Campaign by dropping off food or money at any Puritan Cleaners location until May 4.

8News is also having a friendly competition between the morning news team and evening news team to see who can raise the most donations.

If you want to support the morning team, tap or click here. If you want to support the evening team, tap or click here.

A $10 donation gives a child 40 meals. 

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