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Cafeteria Leftovers Now Offered To Food Banks

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Ever wonder what happens to the leftover food from public school lunches? In Virginia, one congressman is working to allow schools to donate their extras to food banks and pantries.

The effort was championed by Congressman Frank Wolf. He has been meeting with Northern Virginia food banks for the past few years, and found that many do not receive food from local schools because of concerns over liability issues.

"There but for the grace of God go all of us and so the loss of a job or a major health problem and boy, you are in trouble," says Wolf.

Wolf responded by amending a law that frees organizations of any liability when making a good faith effort to donate food. The amendment now clearly includes public schools.

According to the Food for Others food bank in Merrifield, Virginia there are about 100,000 hungry families in Fairfax County alone. Roxanne Rice, the organization's director, says up until this point, they were only receiving school donations from seasonal food drives, but they now hope to get regular donations from cafeterias, in light of the new law.

"It could be a potentially great source of food, because we know the quality will be high coming from the schools," says Rice.

The pantry is fully stocked now with the holidays, but come January, Rice says the supply will start to dry up. She says  she has the trucks ready to pick up the food. Now she just needs to forge the relationships with cafeteria managers.    

"I have a feeling that it’s going to be up to the good people in the schools," she says.

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