Project 612 to Look Forward

Cassi Reaka, Student Life Editor

Project 612 came to EHS at the beginning of this year as a way to help students waste less food. However, after a semester the project is not gaining as much student engagement as originally hoped for.

The project consists of collecting unused food items in coolers and refrigerators during lunch periods. The unused food items are then donated to local food pantries.

“We called it Project 612, which is after John 6:12 in the Bible where Jesus fed the 5,000 and he said to his disciples, ‘Gather the pieces that are leftover. Let nothing be wasted,’” Gwyn Marini, co-founder of the project, told the Intelligencer.

According to Marini, the project has donated about 30,000 pounds of food per year, mostly to the Glen-Ed Food Pantry, since its start in 2011.

The project only started at the high school this year, and despite efforts by students to boost enthusiasm, student participation remains low.

“Despite our constant announcements, our fliers, and our ads, we don’t get nearly as many donations as we would like,” senior Natalie Loveridge said. “We really hope that the student body will participate and not throw away their unused food items.”

Jennifer Weller, the facilitator of Project 612 at the high school agrees that participation could improve but believes that part of the reason is that it is so new.

“I think it will grow over time and students will get used to it,” Mrs. Weller said.

According to Loveridge, during the first semester med club members were responsible for setting out coolers before A lunch. Members of different clubs would then volunteer to empty the coolers into the fridges after lunch.

Mrs. Weller said that they will not be continuing to use the coolers during second semester, and students who wish to donate their unused food items will have to put them directly into the fridges.

“Maybe next year we’ll revisit putting the coolers out because I think ultimately that will encourage more people to participate,” Mrs. Weller said.

The project has opened students’ eyes to the difference that they can make in their community.

“I love project 612,” Loveridge said. “It’s given me a new appreciation for programs that limit food waste. We’re helping others in need and saving the planet.”

Mrs. Weller is excited to continue the project and grow the project over the second semester.

“I’m all about reduce, reuse, recycle,” Mrs. Weller said, “and the fact that they were taking things away from the landfill, but then also giving it to people in need, it’s a win-win situation.”