We realize that at some point a decision will be made to discontinue the community meal program that OFNS implemented at the beginning of the pandemic. As we think about the coming school year and the next steps for SM2P, we realize that our efforts in advocating for the end of food insecurity in New York City can continue and there are practical steps that can be implemented in New York City’s public schools. One of these ideas is the establishment of ‘sharing tables’ within school cafeterias.
‘Sharing tables’ is a procedure that is approved by the New York State Department of Education. The idea is simple: children can place unwanted, uneaten prepackaged food onto a table in the cafeteria that other students can pick up. The procedure is in place in other New York State school districts, such as in the Syracuse school system. In many states, like Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, food placed on 'sharing tables' can be donated to a food bank or pantry.
We are proposing that ‘sharing tables’ be implemented in New York City public schools, as it has been implemented in other school systems in New York State. We are seeking to create a pilot program at the Joan of Arc Complex in Manhattan to demonstrate to OFNS that such a program can run smoothly and be successful.
Please join us in our advocacy to make 'sharing tables' a reality in New York City public schools. Please contact us if you want more information or become a participant in this initiative.