Oakland Unified School District Food Donation Guide


The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) has released a guide on school food donation to support efforts by schools, districts, nutrition departments and those interested in recovering surplus edible school food that would otherwise go to waste.

The guide’s step-by-step instructions and customizable templates are the result of a pilot program at 11 OUSD schools. View and download the School Food Donation Program Guide at

“Schools face special challenges when it comes to preventing and reducing edible surplus food—from legal requirements affecting school meal service to internal buy-in and logistical challenges” explained OUSD Nutrition Services Director Jennifer LeBarre, who spearheaded the effort. “The pilot helped uncover solutions and develop best practices that we want to share with the larger community.”

The pilot project was conducted by OUSD in collaboration with non-profit organization Food Shift. Grant funding and technical assistance for the pilot as well as support in preparing the guide was provided by Alameda County public agency StopWaste.

“We commend OUSD for their groundbreaking work in developing school food donation protocols and making this guide available as a model approach for other K-12 school districts,” said StopWaste Program Manager Cassie Bartholomew. “Our agency has a county-wide goal to reduce food waste going to landfill, and this effort brings us closer to reducing wasted food in schools.”

Building on the best practices outlined in the guide, OUSD is working in partnership with StopWaste and the Alameda County Environmental Health Department to develop safe food handling protocols and standard operating procedures to standardize school food donation programs in the county.

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