Changing the World, One Milk Carton At a Time

Changing the World, One Milk Carton At a Time

Posted on September 13, 2017

BY APRIL FITZGERALD, GRACE ATTENDER
 
One billion unopened and unpeeled food items are fed to landfills annually from our schools all while one in six Americans are food insecure. This past year, I had the privilege of leading five fifth graders in the Food Rescue mission at Hinkle Creek Elementary School to help tackle these issues. What started out as something to do for my son quickly became something I was looking forward to on a weekly basis.
 
Grace partner, Food Rescue, empowers children to make a difference by starting a K-12 Food Rescue program at their school through the Student Led Entrepreneurial Initiative (SLEI). Participating schools give students the option of donating their unopened and unpeeled food items instead of throwing them away. The saved food is donated to local organizations for distribution. The SLEI Program provides students with resources to effectively convince their school district to start this program. Through the creation of videos, blog posts, posters and tracking tools, students learn everyday business skills. They learn how to tell their story and these stories lead to impacting two broken places of the world: the injustice of hunger and the decay of the earth through rotting food in landfills.



While the mission of Food Rescue is indeed something I support and have a passion for, the mission itself was not what made me excited. What did get me excited was getting to know these five young students, learning what makes them excited, helping them learn about themselves and what they are capable of, and helping them realize their seemingly small efforts have a tremendously big impact. These kids are running to the broken places of injustice and decay!

Student One loved being around his friends, but the Kingdom of God was something new to him. He was now learning about these previously unfamiliar things in a familiar environment with safe people. Student Two learned how to take something he had been surrounded by since infancy and articulate it in a way that was "professional and easy to understand." Student Three has a knack for organizing the details and completing smaller tasks. Student Three also was the one who seemed to connect the group when they were out of sync. Student Four was the "big picture" visionary of the group. This student could take ideas and turn them into action items that everyone could get behind. Student Five was our "academic.” Although she sometimes felt left out, I worked with Student Five to realize her strengths and gifts. The rest of the students needed her for balance and support. She was, in fact, the glue that kept the group working well.



You may be asking what all this actually has to do with the Food Rescue project. Well, it was the realization that this K12 Food Rescue mission is SO MUCH BIGGER than saving the food and helping the landfills. While I knew that the SLEI was a great thing, I didn't really get how great it was. So, speaking from one adult to another: if you have thought about supporting students in your school in this program, I would tell you that you should do it, and do it now! The opportunity for these kids to begin realizing their strengths and to apply them in a "real world" scenario is so amazingly powerful. I remain in awe of what I know these five can accomplish in their lives, and am filled with excited anticipation to see where they go. 

Run to this Broken Place

There are countless opportunities in Hamilton and Marion County to get your students involved in solutions to hunger and decay. If you want to set this up at your child's school, it's an easy way to begin healing our decaying planet! Just contact John Williamson at jw@foodrescue.net and he'll help you get started!

I want to get started