Lone Tree Elementary––How Kids are Leading the Culture of Care in One Denver School

Written by Matthew Karm, Food Recovery Specialist

We Don’t Waste has been receiving food donations from Lone Tree Elementary for almost 3 years, and each food pickup is building on momentum from the last. I have been humbled and honored, as a member of the We Don’t Waste team, to have had multiple interactions with the staff and students there. In fact, the students included a drawing of me in a WDW truck on a poster that hangs in the lunchroom above where they deposit their food donations.

One day recently, a kindergarten class there had a special donation for us. They had done a fundraiser for WDW! I was invited to Mrs. Black’s kindergarten class for a presentation of their donation. As each child walked in, they politely introduced themselves and welcomed me to their class. Such a genuine gesture isn’t a rare thing to see at Lone Tree Elementary. After the brief introductions, they explained that they raised over 150 dollars by selling re-sealable lunch bags, so they wouldn’t have to waste disposable bags. The class was filled with raised hands wanting to ask me, “What food do you bring to others? How heavy is it? Where do you go? Can we see your truck?” And so many more. I’m sure my smile was growing with every question. I have a bad poker face especially when faced with an overflow of pure, kind, and heart-filled comments. It was a overwhelming moment. They blew my expectations out of the water––not a surprise from a school that gets it.

From my perspective, I have seen more food collected by the children at Lone Tree than at most other schools we visit. Their commitment and dedication to helping others who might be in need has clearly been instilled in them, by parents, teachers, and even one another. I have to say, they have affected me to the point where my eyes well up and I have bite my lip just to keep up a small professional appearance. Thank you, Lone Tree Elementary for all that you do for We Don’t Waste!