Valley Unified food service director reflects on the past year with COVID-19

Published: Mar. 11, 2021 at 11:41 AM EST
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -It’s been a year since the COVID 19 first came to the state of Maine. Schools had to quickly switch to remote learning, leaving some students without the food they depended on during the school day. Valley Unified was one of many schools that worked hard to make sure meals got into homes. Here’s Megan Cole with the story.

“The school shut down on March 13th. We made arrangements with the state to start using bus deliveries. Our first delivery was March 17th and we ran until August 17th and we did just under 262,000 meals at that time.”

Melanie Lagasse, the food service director for the Valley Unified School, is reflecting on the past year, since the pandemic first began. She says between remote learning and feeding students who depend on the meals they receive at school, they had to get creative. They even formed a new partnership.

“Full plate full potential contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing with Modivcare which was formally LogistiCare. So we made arrangements to have two of their vans from Aroostook County help deliver and we delivered every other day and every other day we were sending out between 2,050 meals and 2,100 meals.”

“This was just another way for us to help out our local community and to help out with things that they’re needing with being in the circumstances in today’s world,” said Laura Ross, Network Operations Manager with Modivcare.

Lagasse says this extra help and support during such a difficult time made a big difference.

“Most of our bus drivers are also custodians in our buildings so when they are out delivering meals they’re not in our buildings prepping them and cleaning them so we were able to give the custodians or the bus drivers shorter runs so that they were in the buildings longer periods of time.”

Lagasse says at the end of the day, the real measure of success is the knowledge that students who need it are being fed.

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