West Fargo Public Schools Partnering with Community Agencies for the Return of School Lunch Repack Program
West Fargo, ND – (September 27, 2021) – With the support of community agencies, four area school districts are expanding upon a pilot program from last spring to distribute unserved leftover meals to students through each host school’s food pantry.
Starting October 1, West Fargo Public Schools will join Fargo Public Schools, Moorhead Area Public Schools, and Central Cass School District in the repacking and distribution of leftover meals to a school’s food pantry program.
West Fargo’s Liberty Middle School will again serve as the host facility for the district, after doing so last year within their preestablished food pantry program. At the end of each lunch service, remaining menu items will be packaged in microwave-safe containers. The portioned meals will be cooled, labelled, and frozen before final delivery to the Liberty Middle School food pantry. Each meal will be labelled with allergen alerts, as well as instructions for safe handling and reheating.
The Food Service Department at West Fargo Public Schools serves 1.4 million lunches every year to students. With that volume, the district has taken steps to reduce the amount of waste. “There are several approaches taken to control food waste in our district’s cafeterias,” explained Dana Rieth, Director of Food Service. “Our Food Service Department staff keep detailed records of items served and make adjustments based on the number of servings that are selected each time a food item is served. While students are provided the autonomy to self-serve many of the food items and select their own portion sizes, we encourage them to take only what they intend to eat. We also offer share tables, a collection spot for students’ unwanted wrapped items that are made available others for consumption. The School Lunch Repack Program is yet another way we can decrease food waste and provide meals to our students.”
“United Way is excited to support the continuation and expansion of the School Lunch Repack Program within our local school districts. At United Way, we believe that no child should have to worry about where their next meal will come from, and with this collaborative approach, together we are able to provide more meals our communities’ hungry students,” added Thomas Hill, United Way’s Vice President of Community Impact. “Thank you to all of the partners who came together to create and support this program and to our school districts who are leading the efforts to provide meals to students who are hungry. The School Lunch Repack program is a great example of how when we work together, we can create long-lasting solutions and a better tomorrow for everyone in our community.”
The program is made possible with support from United Way of Cass-Clay, Great Plains Food Bank, Fargo Cass Public Health, Clay County Public Health, and the Cass-Clay Hunger Coalition.