Aurora West College Preparatory Academy (AWCPA) students recently showed regional leaders with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) how they prevent food waste. The EPA Region 8 Deputy Regional Administrator Deb Thomas visited with the student-led CHOICES Club because the students have helped donate more than 34,000 servings of food from their school to homeless shelters and local food banks.
Last summer, the club started an initiative to recover uneaten food from the Breakfast After the Bell program. Breakfast After the Bell provides Colorado students with nutritious breakfast meals.
The CHOICES Club is focused on making AWCPA as sustainable as possible, so when students noticed that uneaten food from the breakfast program was being thrown away, they jumped into action. With support from school staff, the Aurora Public Schools Nutrition Services Department and Division of Finance, the club has been donating to local food banks and homeless shelters thanks to a partnership with a local award-winning organization, We Don’t Waste.
APS is the first school district in the Denver metro area to sign up as an endorser for EPA’s Food Recovery Challenge (FRC). AWCPA is the first of many schools that Aurora Public Schools hopes will commit to diverting food waste. EPA’s FRC invites organizations to reduce food waste and loss in their communities through outreach, reducing waste in the first place, food donation and composting.
AWCPA students are also current participants of Food-1-1, a new coalition that rescues food from waste in Colorado. This is an evolving collaboration between EPA Region 8 and other federal, state, local, non-profit, and community partners.