‘Share Tables’ Are Being Implemented At Schools To Feed Hungry Students And Reduce Food Waste
Growing up, I gave my parents heck about eating. My mom would prepare a lovely plate of spaghetti, and I would throw a fit, crying and pouting because I “didn’t like spaghetti.” The truth is, I don’t know if I actually didn’t like spaghetti or if I just didn’t want to eat, but my dad didn’t care: my mom made it, I was going to eat it. At the time, I thought he was being so unfair – why should I have to eat something I didn’t like?! Well, as a parent, I now know the answer: because what I don’t like is probably good for me, and it is a privilege to be served foods that are good for you.
Well, this is a lesson I’m now trying to teach my own children and one that I’m sure thousands of others are trying to teach theirs. And like me, I’m sure those parents are just as frustrated when their kids come home with lunch-boxes full of soggy sandwiches, browned fruits and crushed crackers. More frustrating though is having the jubilant thought of, Oh! You ate today! shattered by an innocent statement of, No, I threw it away.
Um, excuse me? Prompt my speech about wastefulness and starving children across the globe that would have loved to have a chicken salad sandwich and an apple for lunch.
The problem is though that it’s not just children across the globe that are going hungry–it’s children right here in our own cities and in our own schools. And it’s not just my children that are wasting their food–it’s most children. Fortunately, schools are beginning to realize these two things, and many have begun to take measures to solve both problems with one solution: share tables.
Schools are finally beginning to realize how big of a problem food waste is, and so many now have “share tables,” which are tables at which students can place unopened snacks for peers to take. The goal is to both reduce food waste and provide food to children whose families can’t afford it.
According to recent stats, 16 million children struggle with hunger each year. 1 in 5 children will go without the proper food they need at some point throughout the year. And approximately 3 out of every 4 American school teachers notice that their students aren’t able to access adequate amounts of food.
Poor nutrition doesn’t just affect a child’s physical health, however. According to Children’s Hunger Alliance, Children facing hunger are twice as likely to repeat a grade in elementary school than those who receive adequate nutrition.
Share tables, it turns out, serve not just two purposes, but three: reducing waste, feeding hungry children and improving educational outcomes.
Share tables are just a small solution to an increasingly pervasive problem. While children are our number one concern, children aren’t the only ones who waste food, and they’re not the only ones who go hungry. According to statistics, 1 in 7 adults go hungry on an annual basis, and as a nation, we waste 30 to 40 percent of the food supply we have. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children to not be wasteful, but maybe, thanks to share tables and the growing awareness in schools today, we can learn a little something from them about conservation and giving back? Just a thought.
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Source: Little Things
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