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New law in WV making sure students have plenty to eat while reducing food waste

This table sits in the cafeteria of Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School for unopened packages of food and unused packaged fruit for all students to eat. (WCHS/WVAH)

This school year is the first time a new law passed by the West Virginia Legislature to fight student hunger is being put into practice in all 55 counties. It's the Feed to Achieve Act, focusing on making sure students have enough to eat while cutting down on food waste.

When it's lunch time at Point Pleasant Junior and Senior High School, some students may get a fruit , vegetable or packaged snack to go along with their meal. Some may not eat the extra food, however, which in the past was thrown out. That doesn't happen anymore with the Share Table Initiative.

"It lets those students put that piece of fruit or bag of fresh vegetables or anything that is packaged and didn't want to eat on a table so other students can pick it up and benefit from it," said Beverly Glaze, child nutrition director for Mason County Schools.

"I always felt wasteful throwing away applesauce packets that I didn't eat or wasn't hungry for, so by having the share table and putting them there I felt like I was helping someone else," said Sarah Deem, a senior at Point Pleasant High School.

Since the food on the share table is available to all students, it reduces the stigma and embarrassment on students who may not have enough to eat at home and who often rely on school for their daily meals.

"You don't know everybody's situation, so it's great that that's there without singling out people without sharing their business with everybody," said Tanner Durst, a senior at Point Pleasant High School.

"I think teachers truly see hungry kids in their classrooms, and all of a sudden it was like we are not throwing away this food anymore. We can actually give it to the kids to eat," Glaze said.

She says the program is helping to reduce the amount of food being wasted and the number of kids leaving school hungry.

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