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Lewiston volunteers help meal program

Katie Krantz works for the Store Next Door Project (also known as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Education Program) at Lewiston High School and is another volunteer.

Getting food during the middle of a pandemic turned out to be a polite experience at Longley School on Wednesday morning.

Families in cars to young children walking down Birch Street approached from the road. A person in a surgical mask got the count and shout back to coworkers handling trays of food sealed in plastic.

“Two please!” Aaron Louque said.

“Two! Thank you!” Katie Krantz said.

All the five adults helping at Longley School on Wednesday were Lewiston School Department employees. They wore surgical masks while loading up bags of food that were dropped off at a distant table.

The meals came from the Lewiston School Department’s nutrition program. School employees have volunteered to help out at distribution sites.

“We’re a well-oiled machine here,” Lewiston High School music teacher Erin Morrison said.

While the fight against the coronavirus in the United States has focused on numbers of cases, local work has involved other statistics. Alison Roman, director of transportation and nutrition for Lewiston Public Schools, said in an email that in 11 days, 60,016 meals were given to local families.

“Our first day was around 490 breakfasts and 490 lunches. Day 11 is closer to 3,000 breakfasts and 3,000 lunches district-wide,” she wrote. 

The volunteers at Longley School laughed as they worked. Morrison wore a surgical mask with a musical note on it Tuesday.

Roman had a long list of thank-yous to people who have helped with the meal-making effort. They included Lewiston nutrition department staff, Hudson Bus lines for driving food to sites, volunteers, the school department’s administrative team, the school committee, distributors included Oakhurst Dairy and Performance Food Group as well as the Walmart distribution center.

Shaw’s and Hannaford supermarkets have also donated thousands of bags, Krantz said.

Lewiston High School nurse Melissa “Missy” Gendron said she did have one concern during the work to keep everyone healthy and isolated. She has seen teens gathering together and thought they needed to spend more solo time on electronic devices.

“Phones. Xboxes. Do it up,” she said.Anyone with questions or in need of more information can go to the Lewiston Public School Department’s website,www.lewistonpublicschools.org, or send an email to aroman@lewistonpublicschools.org. Callers may also leave a voicemail at 207-795-4106, extension 4091.

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