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Olean middle school students make sure others don't eat lunch alone on Valentine's Day

Posted at 5:43 PM, Feb 14, 2020

OLEAN, N.Y. (WKBW) — This Valentine's Day is all about spreading the love, not just to those close to you but to someone you've never hung out with before.

At Olean Intermediate Middle School, students are celebrating the National No One Eats Alone Day. The idea is for everyone to feel included, make new friends, and not sit alone at lunch.

"You get a sticker, and you get to sit at that color of the table and then you get to meet new people that you haven't met yet," said Collin Smith.

It's about getting out of your comfort zone and having lunch with classmates you might not have spoken to before.

"When I first came in I thought I wasn't going to be happy where I sit at, but I am and I'm thankful," said Nicolie Portlow.

The lunch time initiative is also teaching students about inclusion.

"Most people might eat alone because they might have any physical or mental disabilities and we want to fix that," said Calvin Williams.

And Aaron Budha said people need to take risks.

"You might be missing out on a really good friend opportunity if you don't try and mingle with everybody. 'Cause like they could be your best friend," he said.

But since it's normal to get a little nervous, students got a helping hand from some Saint Bonaventure University sports team players.

"This was a great way to get out here, meet some kids, have some pretty cool conversations with them," said student athlete Cody Shimp.

The organizers said this is the first time the school has taken part in celebrating No One Eats Alone Day, and students loved it.