Task Force sponsors thousands of meals for children in need

he Food and Hunger Task Force (FHTF) partners with honor societies, clubs and Marshall-affiliated bands to increase awareness of food waste and the need for food security.

FHTF raised money for over 8,500 meals for children in need of summer meal assistance through the “Marshall Rocks” benefit concert.

“Our three main missions are to reduce food waste here at Marshall and in the local community, to promote nutrition and to promote food security,” senior and FHTF student coordinator Garreth Bartholomew said.

After discovering ing the school wastes nearly 100 pounds of food each day, Bartholomew set up the Share Table.

“Kids with unopened packages of food are able to put them on the table, and we put them in a refrigerator and take them to Second Story, which is a teen shelter,” Bartholomew said.

Each lunch, around 15 volunteers record the amount of waste they collect. In the FHTF’s most recent waste audit, there was a 30 percent reduction in food waste.

As a task force, senior and FHTF member Matthew Capuano-Rizzo said they are able to have a larger volunteer base for their events to make greater impact because other clubs are a part of the FHTF.

“What had inspired me about [Bartholomew’s] effort was that [the task force] is not just [limited] to one club,” Capuano-Rizzo said. “A task force means you have all these other clubs involved, so this was the first time where I tried to integrate all the things that I do.”

Second Story, a youth center that works to ensure food security for children, also worked with FHTF.

Second Story vice president of development Jade Leedham said the lack of food security in Fairfax County remains an issue throughout all Second Story programs. The youth center partners with Food for Others, a food distributor for those in need.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand the true scale of the problem of hunger here in Fairfax County and beyond the greater D.C. area,” Leedham said. “We need more partners like Food for Others who can help in this greater vision of […] the community.”