Every week, the Selah Faculty District’s diet division packs roughly 18,000 bagged meals for college students.
The duty is just not a easy one, in keeping with director of Diet Companies Laura Ozanich. Because the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Selah Faculty District, like others throughout the nation, has needed to reinvent its meal distribution system.
This evolution started March 13, 2020, when faculties statewide have been pressured to shut their doorways to restrict the unfold of COVID-19.
“We went from serving meals in faculties to looking for the precise packaging,” mentioned Ozanich. “What can we put the meals in? How can we transport it? It was fully throwing up within the air what we knew after which rapidly responding.”
Inside one week of colleges closing, the diet division started distributing free bagged meals to the neighborhood through college buses, a service that continued for the rest of the 2019-2020 college 12 months and resumed final fall.
Nonetheless, as soon as Selah college students started returning to lecture rooms, the diet division as soon as once more needed to pivot. With many college students attending college for less than a part of the day, the diet division started distributing bagged lunches and breakfasts at faculties for college students to take residence.
It takes an array of staff, pupil organizations and volunteers to organize hundreds of meals every week.
ASince accepting a place within the diet division in early March, Barb Petrea has performed an integral function within the meal packaging operation at Selah. Amongst her duties is orchestrating the meal packaging classes that happen every Wednesday afternoon.
Since March 3, members of varied pupil organizations have assisted with the bagging of frozen meals gadgets. In trade for bagging 3,000 meals gadgets over the course of a number of hours, pupil organizations obtain cash that can be utilized to fund their membership.
Katie Ramos, a Selah junior, not too long ago spent a day bagging meals with fellow members of the highschool’s swim group.
“I feel it’s good, as a sports activities group, to provide again to the neighborhood as a result of they assist us so properly,” she mentioned. “It’s our alternative to provide again to them.”
Though these meal-packing classes typically function a fundraising alternative for groups and golf equipment, some college students have chosen to volunteer their merely for the good thing about the neighborhood.
“They see that connection of how volunteering actually helps,” Ozanich mentioned. “They’ll see the massive image of serving to our neighborhood.”
Petrea, too, possesses that community-minded perspective.
“There’s no higher job. Should you’re not serving to folks, then in my view there’s no pleasure in it.”
Petrea additionally credit her fellow diet division staff for the continuous success of the meal distribution program.
“They should be a chameleon,” she mentioned. “They’ve to simply adapt to what’s occurring they usually do it with such grace. They usually don’t complain; they simply get it executed. It wouldn’t be as nice as it’s or as easy as it’s with out their dedication and like to the youngsters that they serve.”
Petrea encourages members of the Selah neighborhood who could also be battling meals insecurity to select up a free meal supplied by the diet division.
“If you’re hungry, there is no such thing as a cause to be hungry,” she mentioned. “Meals insecurity is such a tough factor and that needs to be the least of individuals’s worries.”
Ozanich says that meals will proceed being distributed without charge for the rest of the varsity 12 months, with one other free meal program set to happen in the summertime.