Waste Not

Texas school dis­tricts al­lowed to set up food banks for left­overs

Texarkana Gazette - - OPINION -

Leg­is­la­tion signed into law back in June could go a long way to­ward help­ing al­le­vi­ate hunger among Texas school­child­ren.

For years, the state’s school dis­tricts have had to dis­card left­over cafe­te­ria food af­ter classes end or do­nate it to non­prof­its, such as food banks or home­less shel­ters, which typ­i­cally use it as part of their gen­eral hunger re­lief ef­fort.

Fed­eral law frees schools from li­a­bil­ity for such do­na­tions. But not very many dis­tricts chose to par­tic­i­pate.

But a lot of school dis­tricts have hun­gry kids right on their own cam­pus. Do­nat­ing to gen­eral non­prof­its did lit­tle to en­sure they were helped. That frus­trated some school of­fi­cials who saw both an ex­cess of food and kids who were not get­ting enough to eat at home but no way to specif­i­cally con­nect the two.

It frus­trated some law­mak­ers, too. Senate Bill 725 au­tho­rizes Texas school dis­tricts to set up food banks of their own to dis­trib­ute left­over prepack­aged food on cam­pus.

Schools have to fol­low state and lo­cal health codes, so no warm meals will be served. The pro­gram will start with things like bot­tled wa­ter and other bev­er­ages and prepack­aged, un­opened food items such as ce­real and in­stant foods, as well as fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles that might oth­er­wise end up in the trash.

We hope our lo­cal Texas-side school dis­tricts will take a look at the new law and, if fea­si­ble, take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­nity to help hun­gry stu­dents. And we hope the pro­gram will be a suc­cess for stu­dents across Texas as well.

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