A national school initiative hopes to reach one million students.

By Liz Steelman
Updated February 05, 2016
School Lunch Desk
Credit: Tetra Images/Getty Images

Were some of your worst memories of middle school all those days you ate lunch alone? Well, you’ll be glad to hear there’s a non-profit taking steps to make that experience a thing of the past. On February 12, Beyond Differences, a non-profit focusing on ending youth social isolation, will host National No One Eat Alone Day. The event, taking place in middle schools across America, challenges students to break out of their social circles and chat with classmates they don’t know over lunch. The hope is that just one day talking with new people will lead to new friendships and make everyone feel included.

“No One Eats Alone takes asks students to engage in a simple act of kindness at lunch—making sure that no one is eating alone,” Laura Talmus, founder of Beyond Differences, said in an email statement.

Though the event is student-focused, it acknowledges the role schools play in creating an environment for inclusion and respect for differences. Schools can request a free backpack that provides questions for in-class discussions and icebreaker games, as well as balloons and armbands, according to the press release.

Last year 400,000 middle school students in 700 different schools participated in the event. To sign up or to request a backpack or more information on the event, visit No One Eats Alone.