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Offering more than just a ride

Hoping no child has to go hungry after they leave school, two Farmington School District administrators recently created a solution addressing the problem.

Food Service Director Erin Crites and Transportation Manager Stacy Williams wanted to come up with a plan to cut down on the amount of food being disposed of in the cafeterias across the district.

“With the help of our administrators, cafeteria workers, custodian and our mail carrier and driver Max, we are successfully giving students a second chance to take food home,” said Williams. “We are still obeying all of the regulations our food service director has to follow with the state as well.”

According to Williams, if a student doesn’t want any prepackaged food item or piece of fruit, they may place it on a “share table” found in the cafeterias of each building. Anything left on the table after lunch is boxed up and brought to the bus lounge where drivers bag it up and offer the goodies to students as they exit the bus.

“We are in week eight of the program, and it is doing surprisingly well,” Williams said. “Max bagged 20 bananas on the first day, and they took all 20 bananas. Max said a couple of days later, the kids were asking if he had any more bananas.”

Williams said this is not an isolated case. Many of the other drivers are reporting the same thing with other items they have been bringing on their buses.

“Every day since this began, the students are excited to know what is in the food box for them to take home,” Williams said. “One of our drivers, Jerry, was shocked when his kids took every box of raisins. I think this program is showing the need for us to have this food for our kids as they get off the bus.”

Williams and Crites discovered that some of the items, specifically fresh fruit, is something some students never get at home because of the cost … so when they do receive and apple, a banana or an orange, they are very thankful.

“Our driver Anne bagged up some of the fruit specifically for the kids and gave it to them as they got off the bus,” Williams said. “The next morning, some of the kids told her they shared the fruit with the whole family, and thanked her over and over.”

Williams says it just melts their hearts every time a child tells them how much they appreciate the food, or how they are able to share it with their family.

“It’s nice to see kids wanting to take these items home to eat,” Williams said. “Otherwise, it would just have been thrown away. It is a win-win for our kids and their families.”

Williams sees great potential for it and adds more drivers are starting to participate.

“As the stories are being told, more and more of our drivers are taking food for their kids,” Williams said. “We are trying to help kids get extra food daily.”

The Farmington R-7 School District has started a new program to help cut down on prepackaged food items and fruit from being discarded. The

The Farmington R-7 School District has started a new program to help cut down on prepackaged food items and fruit from being discarded. The “Second Chance” program lets students get a snack before they exit the bus at the end of the day. During lunch, students can place prepackaged food or fruit on a shared table in each building cafeteria. Any leftovers are boxed up and given to students on the buses.  

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