AHS introduces the food share program to FUSD
One in five residents of Alameda County are dependent on the Alameda County Community food bank to fulfill their hunger. Approximately two out of every three of these residents are needy children and seniors. Meanwhile, countless edible food is thrown away everyday by our county’s students.
Recognizing this dilemma, a group of teachers have collaborated with the Science and Eco club to reduce American High’s contribution to this predicament.
ent. Primarily, the efforts of Assistant Principal Rob Reibenschuh; Spanish teacher Julio Navarrete; and Kathryn Tarver, The President of Science and Eco club, have successfully implemented the food share program to the AHS cafeteria.
“We have noticed over the years that too many students were leaving wasted food behind,” Reibenschuh said. “So we looked at how we could organize and save some food, we came across the Stop Waste Program by Alameda County, and one of the programs they offered within that Stop Waste Program was the foodshare table.”
American High School is the first school to have introduced the program within Fremont Unified School District.
“We invited the [stop waste] people down to come talk to us,” Reibenschuh said. “We are already recycling; let’s see if we can push it even a step further and recycle some of the food.”
The foodshare table is a non-profit program that collects sealed leftover food in school cafeterias and donates it to staff and various charities.
“The food share table is an opportunity for people that don’t want to eat their food to donate it,” Navarrete said. “Somebody else who might not have something to eat that day or cannot afford the cafeteria food can come and pick up something to eat. If we have enough food leftover, we can also donate it to non profit organizations in the community to support their efforts as well.”
The initial purpose of the program is to help people and the environment. Therefore, the food share program comes with a waste-sorting station consisting of a liquid dump bucket, a tray-stacking area, a compost bin, a recycle bin, and a trash bin.
“The real goal is to change the culture in our school,” Tarver said. “Currently, we are working on the cafeteria as a microcosm for the rest of the school; we are learning how to properly get people to do it on a small scale so we can ultimately go big scale. The rotunda is the next step.”
So far, the food share table has been a success and gets cleared out almost everyday. Indeed the program supports the environment, but most importantly, it serves the students.
“It’s called a food share table, so the people who are hungry, want to eat something, or need to eat something can go there and not have to worry about paying for anything,” Reibenschuh said.
Essentially, the students feel grateful for the availability of a full lunch at no cost.
“The foodshare table is really helpful,” Abraham said. “It provides me with a full meal and it’s nice to know that the food isn’t being thrown away.”
Students Volunteer, Rhea Jandu, serves the food share program by directing people to the right bin for the assortment of their leftover food components for nature’s benefit.