CUMMING, Ga. — Parents of elementary students in Forsyth County are changing the way students think about food and waste.

At the start of this year, Kelly Mill Elementary became the first school in the county to initiate a Helping Hands chapter at the school which allows students to donate unused food to be distributed to those in need.

"We just kept thinking seeing pounds of food get wasted every day, and if we wanted so bad to make use of it," says School Counselor Terri Hadley.

Hadley says that when a group of parents came to her with the idea last year, she was thrilled.

"It's so difficult to find a way to do it that meets county codes and school cafeteria standards, so we couldn't wait to implement the program," adds Hadley.

Kelly Mill Elementary
WXIA

The non-profit based program was launched in January of 2020, and the parents behind the local initiative say they've cut 400 pounds of waste a week since it began.

"It's really neat to see that the children get it. They know what the program is and make the choice to donate and give back," says Kelly Mill parent Ana Machovec. 

The elementary school transports all of the food to local non-profits like the Place of Forsyth on a daily basis by volunteers. Students are also able to volunteer for the initiative, sorting and collecting un-used products from their peers.

"Our message at this school is kindness. I'm so proud to see what this program has done so far and how it's bettering our culture. I think every school should have this in place," explains Hadley.

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