Everyone knows “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but not everyone enjoys eating them. USDA guidelines try to encourage students to eat healthy by requiring they take a ½ cup fruit or vegetable in order to be eligible for a reimbursed school lunch. However, proverbs and recommendations don’t keep food from ending up in trash cans. Lincoln High School Sophomore Sam Yurk noticed just how many apples and other fruits were being thrown away daily in the cafeteria. He took his desire to prevent waste and his compassion for zoo animals and found a way to keep that food from rotting in a landfill.
Sam proposed to the hot lunch staff and his teachers to give the unwanted fruit to the Manitowoc Lincoln Zoo to feed the animals. The idea spread quickly and soon art students were designing posters to advertise ‘feed the animals, not the trash.’ Sam said, “When the fruit is thrown away it is a waste of food. The animals benefit from the fruit.” This is a great example of how one boy’s observation can inspire a positive alternative.