COLORADO SPRINGS — Fountain Valley School (FVS) packs up leftovers to give to volunteers at Connection 4 Life Food Bank. The program helps save between 20 and 50 pounds of food from going to waste every week.
"We're definitely not scraping leftovers into a bin that we're serving, it's stuff that literally just was never taken from the serving plates," said program lead Danielle Llewelyn.
Students have taken ten minutes between classes to bag leftovers every Thursday since 2017.
"I think it's really important, the messages coming out of this because we have so much food here that could be going to waste when it could be used for something good," said junior Ysabella Coker.
Connections 4 Life Food Bank director, Gretchen Baker, said food from FVS helps feed about 50 of its volunteers.
"We don't have enough volunteers to have someone back there cooking for us so that we can eat," said Baker.
1/3 of the food at Connections 4 Life comes from restaurants and grocery store donations, untouched or about-to-expire goods.
"We are utilizing food that would be otherwise thrown away and we don't want anything thrown away," said Baker.
200,000 pounds of food were given to more than 20,000 people in need last year.
"Homeless people are dumpsters diving all over the place," said Baker. "All you have to do is save [food] for us and we can come pick it up."
FVS serves meals to more than 250 people three times a day.
"We try to do a great job of limiting how much we make, and kind of flirting with the line of having enough for our students, but not excess, and inevitably, there is always excess," said Llewelyn.
FVS staff say students are motivated to give to the food bank more than once a week starting next year.
"It doesn't take that much to make a difference and a lot of people probably think it does and you know that just bagging up food and just giving it away this so much really means a lot to me," said Coker.
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