Weekly roundup: Irvine USD teen turns leftover bagels into successful food waste initiative; federal free meal program extension; and more

A student at Northwood High School in the Irvine Unified School District is helping to fight food waste and hunger, one bagel at a time.

It all started with a visit to a local bagel shop in early 2020, when Nithin Parthasarathy, 15, watched workers throw portions of unused bagels in the trash. It was at that moment he created a vision of turning eateries’ leftover bagels into food for the hungry.

And now, nearly a year later, Parthasarathy’s vision has turned into a non-profit business — the Zero Waste Initiative — that distributes bagels to hungry people across the county.

According to a recent article in the OC Register, Parthasarathy has distributed more than $100,000 worth of bagels to hungry people across the county. He was also one of 10 youths nationwide to be awarded a $500 Earth Day scholarship this month from the National Society of High School Scholars Foundation.

News graphic

Parthasarathy told the Register he hopes his efforts help raise awareness about the disparity between food waste and food insecurity.

“No matter where I go to college, I want to expand,” he said. “No matter where I go, I want to continuing growing this important initiative.”

And here are some of the other stories we’ve been following this week:

  • Held virtually for the second year in a row, the Orange County Science and Engineering Fair drew over 300 Orange County students who competed for medals, special awards and scholarships.
  • To support the growth of civic learning and student advocacy across the county, OCDE on Thursday hosted a special symposium titled “Celebrating Democracy in the OC: Supporting the State Seal of Civic Engagement.”

This is the part where we encourage you to keep up with local education news stories by bookmarking the OCDE Newsroomsubscribing for emailed updates and following us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.