Getting Results: High school senior in Charlotte starts Food Rescue program

A high school senior in Charlotte is getting results. She's the first student in the country to start a program called Food Rescue at her school, East Mecklenburg High School.              

Hanna Wondmagegn is taking on a major problem. “We’re attacking something as big as hunger,” Wondmagegn said.

She didn’t have to go far to find a place where she could get results.

Wondmagegn explained, “We’re allowed to collect apple slices, oranges, juices, and pretty much everyone that doesn’t eat or finish their food items, then they could set it in the cooler and someone else could grab it.”

Students at East Meck can drop off extra milk, juice and pre-packaged food that they don’t eat at lunch. They place the items in a cooler, and then Wondmagegn and other volunteers collect and store the food.

The food then goes to the library across the street from the high school. Wondmagegn said a lot of students come to the library to study after school. Through Food Rescue, the students can also have a healthy, free snack at the library.

“Some students are staying in there (at the library) until 7 o’clock, which is about a  five hour stay, with nothing to eat,” Wondmagegn explained.

Wondmagegn said the food doesn’t go to waste. Any food the library doesn’t use goes to other charities, and once the food gets too old, she says they use it for compost.

“The food isn’t being thrown away, that’s the number one point. As long as it goes in the stomach, as long as it goes back to the earth, that’s what matters,” Wondmagegn said.

Wondmagegn has just taken on a new role with Food Rescue. Now she’s working to get more results by helping other schools across the county start the program.

“The best part of what’s been happening is seeing people’s reaction, and seeing people coming and saying you’re very inspiring and what you’re doing has inspired me to go after what I want,” Wondmagegn said.