I’m a proud alumni of the public education system. I attended Baltimore County Public Schools for 12 years, starting at Summit Park, then Pikesville Middle, then Pikesville High. Ultimately I continued my education at the University of Maryland, also a public university.

I’ve always been the kind of student that learns better outside of the classroom than inside. I was never a great student academically, but rather consider myself a student of life experiences.

I may not remember calculus - but I do remember some bold life lessons I learned in high school:

“Life is as fair as we make it.” - an 11th grade math teacher

“You need to learn about you, and focus on you, to make a better you.” - a 12th grade teacher

“Think of how fast you can possibly run. Scrap that time out of your head and just go.” - Track coach before a race in which I set a personal record

I cherish the memories made and the lessons learned at school. BCPS helped make me who I am today.

That’s why I’ve been so proud to run a business that partners with BCPS in such an important way. To date, over 500 teachers, administrators and BCPS staff members have received weekly delivery of produce from Hungry Harvest. Each of those deliveries supports donations to local hunger relief organizations and reduced-cost produce markets in local food deserts.

Overall, Hungry Harvest deliveries to BCPS faculty account for 64,000 pounds of produce rescued from going uneaten and 16,000 pounds of produce donated locally.

The root of that impact started almost a year ago today, in September 2016, when we had a week that exponentially expanded our partnership with BCPS.

First, for some context: We got in touch with the central wellness coordinator for all of BCPS who advocated for Hungry Harvest as a healthy option to the wellness coordinators at each school (usually the school nurse). When those coordinators found more than 10 people at their school who were interested, they would send an email to me.

In one week, I got over 20 emails from school wellness coordinators. On a single morning - the emails came pouring in from schools I recognized - Deep Creek Middle, Patapsco High, Perry Hall, and more. It was an exciting feeling of validation - a similar feeling to the way I felt on Shark Tank when Robert Herjavec and I made a deal that confirmed our business model was working. My alma matter became our largest partner in fighting food waste and hunger!

Next week, we’ll be launching a few back-to-school initiatives to show our support not just for teachers, but also families getting back into the school year. First off, we’ll be donating 600 pounds of apples to BCPS schools to help students and faculty kick off the year on the right foot.

Starting the week of 9/12, we’ll be offering a healthy lunch-promoting surprise giveaway and throughout the entire month, we’ll be hosting our #NoWasteBagLunch photo contest. This is an opportunity for kids and kids at heart to show off their healthy, food waste-eliminating bag lunches - both for chances to win free prizes and to inspire the rest of us whether we’re swinging into school or kicking the post summer blues at work.

The lessons I learned from some fantastic teachers are now coming full circle. I use them to run Hungry Harvest so we can return the favor to some of the most influential teachers in my life.

 

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