The Middletown Enlarged City School District's food workers reached a major milestone this month, when they surpassed 750,000 meals made and delivered to members of the community since the outbreak of COVID-19.
It takes a lot of teamwork to help feed a community. Any Middletown resident can pick up a school-made meal for a child.
"I feel very good," said Mary Michtalik, a food service worker with 20 years of experience. "I love it, everybody, my special boss and all the managers. Everybody."
What You Need To Know
- The Middles Meals on the Move program is led by Director of Food and Nutrition Services Debra Donleavy
- The team is staffed by food service workers ranging in years of service from six months to 25 years
- Food delivery service will continue throughout the December holiday season. The schedule can be found here
The team packs about 2,100 meals a day, and with its new conveyor belt, team members are able to safely seal each container for storage in nearby freezers for delivery.
From their lunch room-turned-mass-production-kitchen in the Truman Hill Elementary School, the staff works around the clock. Joan Price has worked in the district for 20 years, and was preparing apple sauce packs for students.
"You know, before we only had nine to do. Now, we have like 99," she joked.
They’re feeding hundreds more people now then when they began in March. Over 1,600 people are helped at each distribution.
Debra Donleavy, director of food and nutrition services, said working together made it possible.
"It leaves me speechless. To find the right words to describe the rewarding experience, and to be able support a program that fills the need for the children of the community, is a big motivator," Donleavy said.
Just outside, two large freezer trucks are set up to safely store the meals. They are moved off-site for sorting and delivery. Meal recipients are known as "connections."
“We call them connections because they're not always students. Sometimes, they're siblings who are not yet in school, or individuals who are 18 and under,” she said. The team will continue cooking throughout December to ensure no one goes hungry.
“We do have another milestone that's approaching -- the million meal mark — and when that comes, their sense of reward for the staff is going to be extraordinary,” Donleavy said.