GDOE food meal packages being thrown away

Grab-N-Go meal program (PNC file photo)

Many of the Guam Department of Education food meal packages being distributed by Sodexo are not being picked up and just being thrown away.

During Tuesday’s Mayors Council of Guam meeting, mayors said they are being asked to pick up surplus meal packages that were not picked up by students.

MCOG president Jesse Alig said perhaps one reason why some meals are not being picked up is that a number of students may not have transportation.

Alig said this is the reason why the mayors are being asked to pick up the excess meal packages for distribution to their constituents.

Dededo mayor Melissa Savares said she got a message from JFK High School requesting for assistance because they had 600 meals that were left over.

“I also got calls from Wettengel and Astumbo saying they had over 200 meals left over during the first two days of the food distribution,” Savares said.

She added: “But there were so many leftover meals that, you know, at the end of the day, nobody wants to take something that was cooked at eight o’clock in the morning and then feed it to their families.”

There’s also the issue of packaging.

During one pick-up, Savares said the meals were so poorly packaged that the gravy in the meals was already spilling out of the bag, making the meals unappetizing.

Sinajana mayor Robert Hofmann said the biggest issue with the GDOE meals was the packaging and the spillage.

“The Mandarin and all the juices are into the food and the vegetable is into the desert. It just jumbles in there. If they could package it similar to how they do the senior citizens meals where it’s vacuum-packed in an environment-friendly container, it would be so much easier to transport and move,” Hofmann said.

He added that the meal containers, although environmentally-friendly, are flimsy.

“It’s not even flimsy, it’s beyond flimsy. You might as well just put it in a plastic bag and hand it to them. It looks like dog food by the time they get it. And so it’s really a sad case of waste. We were handing it out to GHURA residents and they don’t want it. They’re just like thank you, but no thanks. They prefer the canned goods, or they want it packaged better where it looks more presentable.”

Humatak mayor Johnny Quinata said they would distribute the surplus meal packages to residents only to later find the meals thrown out into the garbage bins.

Alig and the other mayors said they have already talked about this issue with Sodexo and GDOE to find out whether the number of meals could probably be lessened so that there would be less surplus and to improve the packaging and presentation of the meals.