Helping Hands Ending Hunger was conceived around Thanksgiving 2015 when a teacher asked for help to purchase food for baskets for some elementary students whose families had been seen digging through the dump after a football game. The children had come to school after the weekend crying because their bellies hurt; they were hungry and couldn’t even begin to focus on school or learn. Teachers put together one-time food baskets, but it wasn’t enough.
Impacted by the fact that families in our community were hungry in a day and age where everyone seems to have so much and noting all of the food waste that occurred in school, the path was simple and clear: rescue uneaten food from school meals and give it to the families in need whenever they need it. No family should ever want for food, and no child should ever have to worry when or where they will get their next meal.
The journey turned out to be a rocky one because of long-enforced restrictions in the food service rules applicable to school cafeterias. A bright-line prohibition existed: once sold to a student, food could not be shared with another student during a meal, and even unopened, uneaten, untouched food had to be thrown in the trash afterward. Determined not to accept the status quo, we worked to find a way to change policy to get needed food to children struggling with food insecurity. We developed a food donation program that can operate within the food service rules, protected under established liability laws. Our program presents a win-win for everyone involved.
Now armed with a food-safe Operational Plan, Helping Hands food program has received local, state, and international recognition. Our focus: school, governmental, business, and charitable collaborations that are making a demonstrable difference in the lives of the children and families we serve. Focusing on the "whole-family" is our unique perspective, so we support weekly family meal bags filled with nutritious food, healthy living resources, and community connections to bridge larger needs gaps. In 2022, Helping Hands achieved line item budget funding with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, State Community Development Programs, because of our track record of changing educational outcomes and supporting healthier habits.
Our immediate goal is to statistically impact food insecurity rates feeding at least 150,000 children over the next year.
#KidsHelpingKids #FeedingChange #TogetherWeCan #FoodIsNotTrash
Empower students to rescue uneaten food from school cafeterias and join hands with their communities to nurture food insecure families.
To alleviate childhood food insecurity, reduce food waste, encourage better educational outcomes, and shape a healthier world.