Food Recovery - Share Tables & Donations


    Food sharing tables are here in Roxbury Elementary Schools

    According to the US Department of Agriculture, up to 40% of food produced in America is wasted, amounting to 31 million tons of food added to landfills each year. In an effort to reduce food waste in schools, Roxbury Elementary Schools implemented food sharing tables in the Franklin, Jefferson, Kennedy, and Nixon cafeterias at the beginning of the 2023/2024 school year.

    The food sharing table initiative, which is backed by the USDA, is trending nationally. It’s intended to feed kids in need while saving nutritious, usable food from landfills. Students can leave unwanted food or drinks at a designated station where others can help themselves. These items should be unopened, prepackaged goods including milk and juice, cheese sticks, whole fruits and vegetables, or bags of carrots and apple slices. Items collected in the Share Bin will be stored in the BASES refrigerator in each cafeteria. Students that are still hungry can take an additional helping of these items from the share bin at no cost to enjoy while eating their lunch. Students in the B.A.S.E.S. program can also enjoy a serving of these items while in attendance during before and aftercare. Each school nurse and school counselor are also welcome to use these items for those children and families who may need them.

    Any food that remains in the share bin at the end of the week will be donated to two local organizations, Roxbury Social Services and the Ray of Hope Foundation.

    It is our goal to reduce food waste and help students that need a little extra food if they are hungry. With nearly 13 million kids in the U.S. facing hunger every day and 40% of the U.S. food supply wasted, we wanted to do our part in making that number smaller.

    Please read the Share Tables Fact Sheet for more information from the New Jersey State Department of Agriculture Division of Food & Nutrition, School Nutrition Programs.

    Food Sharing Bin Guidelines:

    Food components recommended for sharing:

    • Unopened pre-packaged items, such as a bag of baby carrots, sliced apples, or cheese sticks stored in a cooling bin or refrigerator
    • Whole fruits and vegetables, such as apples and bananas.
    • Unopened juice
    • Unopened milk, when stored at 41 degrees or below

    Food components not recommended for sharing:

    • Un-packaged items, such as a salad without a lid
    • Packaged items that can be opened and resealed.
    • Open items, such as an opened or punctured bag of baby carrots or sliced apples.
    • Perishable foods, when a temperature control mechanism is not in place
    • Food brought from home

    How the Food Sharing Bin Works?

    The rules are simple and students are encouraged to participate.

    • Students place unwanted, sealed, and unbitten items into the Share Bin.
    • Students select items they intend to eat during the meal period or take to go at no cost.
    • Items brought from home are not acceptable.

    Let’s work together to eliminate food waste in our cafeterias and to make sure our students don’t leave hungry.

Tying in Sustainable Jersey for Schools

  • Each Roxbury Township Public School is registered with Sustainable Jersey for Schools, a certification program for New Jersey public schools that want to go green, conserve resources and take steps to create a brighter future, one school at a time. Launched in fall 2014, they are a non-profit organization that provides tools, training, and financial incentives to support and reward schools as they pursue sustainability programs. Click here to read more about Sustainable Jersey for Schools. 

    As of August 2018, all seven Roxbury schools received Bronze-level certification. In August 2023, Roxbury High School reached the next tier, achieving Silver certification. To that end, each of our schools and the district as a whole continue to work towards a more sustainable future.

    Each of our K-4 schools will be earning ten points towards the "Food Recovery - Share Tables & Donation" action. The use of our Share Bins will help minimize food waste in the Child Nutrition Program, provide an opportunity for those still hungry to have a healthy option, as well as to help families in their community who may be struggling with food insecurities at home.