Bridgeport Elementary School’s2019 Grades of Green Waste Campaign went swimmingly. The Grand Prize Winners, earned an Eco-Grant to expand their sustainability initiatives. Student leaders from the school’s Green Team began a food rescue program in which they collected items such as apples, bananas, oranges, unopened water bottles, and pre-packed snacks every two days that were delivered to a local food pantry and local emergency shelter Bridge to Home. 

Many of the parents got involved by volunteering to deliver the food collected. The program received great feedback from both students and parents, who were impressed with the amount of food they were able to collect. One of the students said, “[I had] a really good feeling when I saw that homeless man eating the food from my school… I just feel so good about that.” The Green Team is confident that with more advertisement they will be able to help the program grow by reducing food waste and helping their community.

The school was awarded one of Grades of Green’s Eco-Grants due to their substantial  efforts during the Campaign. Additionally, the Green Team was honored at the Saugus Union School Board Meeting and City Council Meeting last May, which inspired one of the community members to match the grant given by Grades of Green, giving the school an additional $1000 for the Campaign. This has opened the door for the Green Team for future collaborations and the possibility of policy change. One of the Grades of Green mentors said, “Grades of Green has initiated a snowball effect of good environmental work within our school and in our community. We are so grateful to you and your program.”

The school provided Grades of Green with a final report of how they plan on using the funds to expand the scope of their sustainability initiatives. The idea is to purchase coolers, insulated bags, and ice blankets to ensure the recovered food stays fresh until delivered. The Green Team also intends to invest in worm binds and other related materials to divert food waste from landfills. The worm binds contribute to healthy soil for the school gardens, which produce food for the school. They also plan on using the grant to incentives students with  reusable containers and other eco-friendly products as prizes. In addition, the school plans on purchasing materials for posters, green printer paper, clipboards, lanyards, and name-tags.

Other plans the school involve providing students with Green Team T-Shirts, bringing guest speakers to motivate students and parents, and organizing field trips to recycling facilities, nature reserves, and animal reserves. They intend to purchase gardening materials to improve the school gardens (the school is opening two more gardens soon!), and make pre-printed letterheads or envelopes as an incentive for students to meet with district officials about making policy changes for the environment.

Grades of Green is delighted to continue working with  Bridgeport Elementary School’s Green Team and cannot wait to see what they will do in the next Campaign!

Do you know student leaders ready to take eco-action in their community? Register a Campaign Team today, and be eligible for an Eco-Grant!