When Doing Good Gets Out of Control

Type: Article
Topics: Communications & Public Relations, District & School Operations, Leadership Development, School Administrator Magazine

August 01, 2021

My View

Inside every school administrator’s heart is the desire to help children grow and make the world a better place. Yet even with imagination, drive and perseverance, educators’ desire to do good sometimes comes at a price.

Two years ago, an administrator in my school district in northern Indiana had an opportunity to match a newly developed nonprofit organization that rescues, repurposes and freezes unserved food from catering companies with our district’s food-insecure students for weekend take-home meals. During the discovery phase of the project, we asked a simple question: “What about unserved food in the school district?”

Our food service department has an excellent record of estimating daily food needs as well as repurposing unserved cafeteria food where possible, such as cooked chicken strips on a next-day salad. On rare occasions, a tray of green beans or corn niblets might be prepared based on historical estimates, then go unused and not be reusable. These vegetables could be “rescued,” paired with unserved steak and potatoes from an event hosted by a nearby university, then frozen together to create packaged meals for needy children.

It seemed like a winning formula for all involved — a newly developed nonprofit looking to build awareness, students who face food insecurity over the weekend and the school system with an opportunity to recycle unused food.

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Brenda Kolbe

Director of communication

Elkhart (Ind.) Community Schools