Texas school districts allowed to set up food banks for leftovers
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.