A campaign founded by a North County student to get surplus and short-dated food from grocers, growers and food companies in the region donated to the hungry was honored Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The “Donate, Don’t Dump” campaign created by Gabrielle Posard was given the President’s Environmental Youth Award by the EPA.

Gabrielle Posard. Courtesy photo

The campaign, which is now a volunteer-run nonprofit with 20 chapters and more than 4,000 members and partners in four states, helps the food go to the hungry instead of landfills.

Posard is a student at San Dieguito High School in Encinitas. Her sister, Camille, a UCLA student, is listed as a co-founder.

The EPA said the organization distributes more than 20,000 pounds of donated food each month to struggling families and seniors and works to promote issues tied to reducing hunger, promoting zero waste and environmental protection.

The annual award recognizes outstanding student leaders in environmental stewardship and exceptional K-12 teachers employing innovative approaches to environmental education in their schools. The honorees use local ecosystems, environment, community and culture as a context for learning, according to the EPA.

“Through their enthusiasm and commitment, these students and educators are inspiring current and future environmental stewards,” said Jared Blumenfeld, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest area. “We are pleased to honor their work that helps communities and protects the environment.”

Including regional awards, 17 teachers and 60 students were honored.

— City News Service