Grant helps Brandywine students keep focused with after-school snacks

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NILES, Mich. (WNDU) - At Brandywine High School in Niles, you will find plenty of busy children, like Emily Burge, a high school senior.

“I'm actually president of National Honor Society," she said. "I am in Student Senate, Key Club.

“When I stay after (school), there are so many kids here because they're always going to the vending machine," she added. “Sometimes, they don't always have money. They're asking kids for money.”

“This includes athletes and students who are trying to learn, and their focus is taken away because they are so distracted by their hunger,” Brandywine High School Key Club President Krishna Devdhara said.

That will all change with a new Key Club program that collects unwanted food at lunchtime and makes it available for free after school. The students keep safety in mind, only accepting prepackaged foods and carefully inspected whole fruit items, like apples and bananas.

“Key Club members will be collecting the food at lunch, and after lunch they'll go and put it in the fridge, and then they'll check the expiration dates and maintain it,” Devdhara explained.

Money from Martin’s One School at a Time grant helped them buy the storage items they need.

“We're going to buy a refrigerator and a cart. It's quite expensive. It's very helpful that they're giving us that much money,” Devdhara said.

“Federal rules are the children are supposed to take so many components on their plates. And a lot of times, they won't eat it,” explained Maggie Seggerman, Brandywine High School food services director.

“The students don't always consume the food. They realize, ‘Why throw it away?’ They can reuse it at a later date,” Key Club advisor Stacy Vitek said. “The students are hungry after school. Why not use it then?”

The Key Club members earn valuable service hours during lunch duty at Brandywine. They sort the food waste, refrigerate it and make it available after school.

“I just love being able to help people that are in need,” Burge said. “This gives us purpose to do and to help people.”

If you want to nominate your school for a One School at a Time grant from Martin’s Super Markets, you’ll find a registration form by clicking here.