Merski introduces bill to fight student hunger, reduce food waste

Would allow schools to participate in ‘Shared Table’ initiative

HARRISBURG, May 31 – State Rep. Bob Merski today introduced legislation that would allow schools to address student hunger through a unique “Shared Table” program.

Merski, D-Erie, said his legislation (H.B. 1286) would help solve student hunger and combat food waste by allowing schools to redistribute unused food to students in need.

“In Pennsylvania, 1 in 7 children face hunger, which means that they show up to class each day without the fuel they need to concentrate, retain information and learn,” Merski said. “At the same time, a large amount of food goes to waste every day in our schools. In a state with one of the nation’s strongest agricultural industries – and far too much food waste – we can turn this situation around.

“To fight student hunger and reduce food waste, I am introducing legislation that would allow schools to participate in the Shared Table initiative. The program would allow students with unwanted, unused food to deliver it to a safe designated spot, where other students could discreetly obtain the food throughout the day or take it home with them at the end of the day.

“Schools in other states have implemented these programs, which are an innovative and effective way to ensure no student goes hungry. It’s time for the commonwealth to join them.”

The bill will be referred to committee.