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School Reduces Waste with Share Cart

Posted at 8:37 AM, Oct 14, 2019

GRETNA, (Neb.) — Director of food and nutrition services at Gretna Public Schools Sharon Schaefer knows not every kid cleans their plate. And when kids are on their own at school, odds are if they don't want to eat something, they won't. When that happens, it often ends up in the trash. In fact, a study out of Harvard suggests more than a billion dollars worth of school lunch food is wasted every year., but kids at Gretna Public Schools have another option, the Share Cart.

"We've got a little sign that tells them what they can share and then the next student says,'Aww man I don't have any money. Mom and dad said not extras, but I'm still hungry.' They can still pick something up," said Schaefer.

Students can't put anything on the cart. It has to be bite free and either have a seal or a peel. The food is free to anyone who is hungry.

"At the end of the day it can go to the nurse's office, the athletic department, school counselors. Sometimes kids show up later and say, 'I'm hungry.'"

The kids may be taking a break from class at the cafeteria, but Schafer says learning to share helps every student succeed.

"We're here to support education. We send our kids to school to learn and if a child's hungry they can't learn," said Schaefer.