Each Friday I compile a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of Oct. 2:
1. New law allows Calif. schools to donate leftovers
School districts have struggled with reducing food waste since new federal regulations were put in place in 2012. At the same time, millions of people struggle with food insecurity in the country. A new law in California is hoping to kill two birds with one stone. The law allows school districts to donate food that is served but not eaten, including untouched fruit and unopened packages. Food that is put on shared tables that is uneaten can also be donated.
2. Campus dining officials charged with theft
Two former employees at the University of Buffalo have been charged with theft. Dennis Black was the former vice president of university life and services, which oversaw dining and housing. Last month Black pleaded guilty to stealing $320,000 for items like Broadway tickets. The thefts dated back to 2007. The second employee, Andrea Costantino, who was the director of campus living, pleaded guilty to stealing $14,664.
3. School replaces forks with plastic sporks
A Kansas high school has replaced the metal forks once found in the cafeteria with plastic sporks after students threw away so many that the district had to replace 8,000 last year—to the tune of $720. Instead of replacing the forks, which cost 9 cents apiece, the district decided to purchase plastic sporks, which cost $8.18 for 1,000.
Read more: Cafeteria replaces metal forks with plastic sporks
4. NYC free meals program criticized for lack of kosher options
When NYC schools said it would serve all students free meals this year, most people heralded the move. Some, however, aren’t feeling the love. Some in the Jewish community say the 30,000 students who attend yeshivas cannot eat the free meals because they are not certified kosher.
Read more: Jewish group slams Mayor de Blasio’s free school lunch plan for not offering kosher foods
5. Oklahoma sees increase in summer feeding
When schools are out for the summer, many students no longer have access to meals. That’s why the summer feeding program is so important, and why school districts are trying to boost their programs. In Oklahoma, it seems to be working. The state reported a 14 percent increase in participation this past summer. The state has a goal of increasing summer meal participation by 20 percent by 2025.
Bonus: SNA survey: International dishes, customization surge in K-12 dining