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A school district in Indiana is changing the way cafeterias treat their leftover and unused food by donating it to kids in need.

Indiana’s Elkhart School District has paired up with an innovative nonprofit called Cultivate Collects to make sure children from the district don’t go hungry and less food is wasted.

The nonprofit helps school cafeterias to package unused cafeteria food into take-home meals for children and their families.

Jim Conklin, board president of Cultivate Collects told WSBT-TV the nonprofit serves to repurpose unused food from places like “catering companies [and] large food service businesses, like the school system.”

“Over-preparing is just part of what happens,” Conklin said. “We take well-prepared food, combine it with other food and make individual frozen meals out if it.”

One particular school, Woodland Elementary School, sends 20 kids home with 8 meals every Friday, providing families in need with the leftover and repurposed food.

The program has already had positive results. Melissa Ramey, who works with the town’s Chamber of Commerce, said that the collaboration is solving problems for many families, all while conserving food and waste.

“It’s making a big impact,” Ramey said. “It was heartbreaking to hear that children go home on the weekends and that they don’t have anything to eat.”

Natalie Bickel, the supervisor of student services at Elkhart Community Schools, along with many cafeteria workers, saw first-hand how much food was being wasted each day and is ecstatic to see it going to a good cause.

“It’s something they deal with every day,” Bickel told The Washington Post. “They see the need, they see the hungry kids, and to throw [extra food] away was really difficult for them.”

Fox News shared a photo to its Instagram account detailing the new program in Indiana, which elicited a variety of positive responses.

“This is what schools across America need to be doing,” commented Lane Pelletier.

“Excellent idea! I worked for the school cafeteria in our district for 8 years and the waste was overwhelming,” another Instagram user wrote. “So many children that could have used that food that would have appreciated it.”

One Instagram user posed a pretty good question: “How did somebody only come up with this now?”

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Author: Lindsay Elizabeth

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