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Stevenson Elementary Students Reach Out to Needy

BLOOMINGTON - Lunch time at Stevenson Elementary looks a lot like those you've witnessed, but thanks to an idea from cafeteria manager...
BLOOMINGTON - A new year often means new goals. But the staff at Stevenson Elementary is helping their students continue to make lunch time a little more valuable.

They're turning their trash into treasure for local ministries.

Lunch time at Stevenson Elementary looks a lot like those you've witnessed, but thanks to an idea from cafeteria manager Charlene Formella, students have a different plan after they finish eating.

"The fact that there was so much going into the garbage and there was so many people that really are going hungry these days, that it would be a shame to have all that product going into the garbage," said Formella.

So, the teachers have been teaching their students to donate unopened foods.

"We try to explain to them that it helps the hungry people and it keeps garbage out of the dump, and I think they really do it, they're on board with it," said Formella.

"The idea being that in the cafeteria, they focus on their food, but there are times and things that they possibly don't like and they automatically do it. It's just what they do," said Hanson.

After a few reminders, it's almost become a reflex.

"First you get your silverware, then you would put your food in the garbage that you didn't eat and and the ones you didn't open you'd put in the donation food," said first grader Marion Bataoel.

After the students are done, Formella and her staff will sort through the unopened cartons of milk, jars of fruit, and other unblemished packages from lunch. Since school started, they've collected nearly 1800 milk cartons and about 800 fruit cups.

Some items they can't keep, because they've been opened, but Hanson says the spirit is right.

"They want to donate that because they chose not to eat it, and that's their choice, but they think that someone else could benefit from it," said Hanson.

And the ministries they're giving to, including Home Sweet Home and Loaves and Fishes are grateful for the generosity.
"Now, they're excited when we pull up. They're like, yea, school!" said Formella.

Here's how some other schools compare.

Stevenson:
1775 milk cartons
786 fruit cups
411 cheese sticks
275 breakfast juices
309 yogurt cups
247 animal crackers
77 bags of carrots
43 cereal bowls

Oakland:
100 cartons of milk
10 pounds of diced chicken
2 boxes of rice
15 pounds of turkey
24 cups of yogurt
10 pounds of lettuce

BHS (listed as servings):
1,124 fruit/veggies
410 cookies
270 breakfast sandwiches
253 pizza
249 boscos (cheese stuffed breadsticks)
230 wraps, subs, chicken/tuna salad, hummus
115 nuggets
124 fried chicken
120 hamburgers
97 grilled chicken
96 hot dog/polish
58 chicken tenders
54 breakfast pizza
52 chef/veggie salads
51 baked/sweet potatoes
50 popcorn chicken
41 frudels
40 chips
40 PBJ
40 pie slices/bars
37 brownie
32 4oz/8oz yogurt cups
32 egg rolls
30 BBQ Ribs
15 parfaits
12 cheese ravioli
2 bagels

BJHS:
Milk 1580
Fresh Fruit/sealed fruit 2889
Cold Sandwich 230
Chicken products 1626
Pizza 572
Bread sticks/cheese sticks 285
Pretzels 125
Yogurt cups 16

Sheridan
Milk 2799
Juice 533
Crackers 39
Fruit 1080
Vegetable 489
French toast 153
Cookies 498
Yogurt 117
Poptarts 14
Eggs 355
Mini cinni 173
Pancakes 211
Frudels 132
Flatbread 76
Chips 49
Cereal 115
Waffles 278
Cheese sticks 291


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