GURNEE, Ill. – Excess food at K-12 schools would be used to fight food insecurity under legislation backed by state Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, that passed out of the legislature last month. The measure now goes to the governor for final approval.
“Throughout our community, countless families struggle to make ends meet and keep food on the table. At the same time, school districts regularly have leftover food still in its original packaging that they have no purpose for and often discard,” Mason said. “Rather than looking at these issues as two separate problems that need to be tackled individually, we can combine them and use excess food as a way of addressing food insecurity.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, approximately 30 to 40% of the nation’s food supply is wasted. In 2010, an estimated 133 billion pounds of food went to waste in the U.S. alone. Despite this, the USDA also reports that roughly one in 10 households across the country struggle with food insecurity.
Mason supported Senate Bill 805, legislation that requires Illinois school districts to create and implement a food sharing plan to give unused food to those in need. This would be done in coordination with local health departments to ensure all donated food is safe and in alignment with federal guidelines on food donations.
“With the right planning, leftover food from school districts can be used to make a real dent in the fight against hunger,” Mason said. “If signed into law, this legislation will make food donations a widespread practice in school districts across the state and bring us one step closer to ending food insecurity.”
Visit Rep. Joyce Mason’s website
247-E Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
36100 Brookside Dr.
Suites LL 60
Gurnee, IL 60031