Browsers may block some cookies by default. Click accept to allow advertising partners to use cookies and serve more relevant ads. Visit our privacy policy page for more information.

This School District Is Turning Cafeteria Leftovers into Take-Home Meals for Students


A South Bend, Indiana non-profit, Cultivate, is working towards ending food waste in schools while simultaneously making sure hungry kids have enough to eat.

Anyone who's ever worked in a school will tell you the laws surrounding lunches are borderline insane. Title-1 schools specifically have some particularly funky regulations. For instance, you've got to put the food in front of the kid even if they're not going to eat it.

Students are also not allowed to take food home because of liability issues. Never mind the fact plenty American families are struggling with food insecurity and could use the extra dollars they'd save every week while ensuring they have healthy food to feed their kids. It's not like they could sign a waiver at the beginning of the year protecting the school and district from liability if families bring food home and claim it made them sick, right?

Then there are the practices of school cafeterias themselves. There are horror stories from all over the country about kids who aren't able to get a hot lunch because they owe too much money. It's gotten so bad, people are starting GoFundMe campaigns to pay the fees off.

Connecting the dots, it isn't hard to see, if a student's parent doesn't have the money to pay for cafeteria food — which is, on average, quite inexpensive — they probably aren't getting the best nutrition at home. Enter Cultivate.