Bay District Schools students share food with peers, community

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Some cafeterias in Bay District Schools are using creative and resourceful ways to share or recycle unused food.

Schools including Jinks Middle School and Oakland Terrace School for the Arts use a "share table" system.

At Oakland Terrace, students place certain foods like apples from the cafeteria lunch line at the end of their respective cafeteria tables.

At Jinks Middle School, students used to give food to administrators that they didn't want. Now, they have a new system.

"We simply came up with a table that students could go [to] and they could put food on the table or maybe their milk if they didn't want to drink that, and then other students would know then that if they wanted to have some extra items to be able to eat or to drink, all they had to do was to go over to the table and pick it up, and they could have it without any problem," Britt Smith, Principal of Jinks Middle School, said.

If students have allergies, all of the food placed on the "share table" is food that is from the cafeteria lunch line.

Over at Bay High School, students have partnered with Chautauqua Learn and Serve Charter School to not only share food, but to help the homeless community as well.

Student Brian Bigda walks from Bay High School to Chautauqua's campus every day, twice a day with fruit and milk in tow.

That's because Bay High School and Chautauqua collect uneaten food from breakfast and lunch at Bay High to give to the homeless.

Bigda said his favorite part about help others is, "Knowing that people that can't afford it can still eat."

The idea came about when Bay High administrators noticed students would share their uneaten food or unopened milk with their peers.

"If they weren't going to eat something, they often left it on the center of the table and, you know, for another student to pick up or if they were not going to have their milk, you know, that was still unopened, they would leave that on the table," Kris Palfrey, Assistant Principal at Bay High, said.

She explained donated foods cannot be opened, damaged or tampered. For example, they can donate fruits with skin or peels, but not sandwiches or biscuits.

"Before we started doing this several years ago along with Bay High, we were throwing away maybe 50 pounds of apples and oranges and drinks every week. So now, this is all going to feed the homeless and helping out in the community," Doug Remick, a teacher at Chautauqua who helps with the program, said.

For some, all it takes is a giving heart and a helping hand to make a difference in the community.