LEWISTON — Even though the Green Ladle has been on a meal-making streak, Chef Dan Caron, who leads the culinary arts program at Lewiston Regional Technical Center, hopes students and adult volunteers can continue as long as they are needed, but as of April 2, the LRTC culinary program had enough supplies for meals for retirees and veterans to get them through April 10. The project began in March to help people stay at home and to limit the spread of coronavirus.
They started with 80 meals; by April 2, they had expanded to 380, Caron said, adding, “We don’t have it in us to stop.”
Caron is working with the Meals on Wheels program run through Seniors Plus because people cannot receive food from both delivery programs.
Recently, volunteers Sue Russell and Maureen Caron have been inspecting hundreds of paper bags to ensure they contained all required lunch elements, including a small pat of butter.
Wearing masks and gloves, LRTC teachers prepared meals in the kitchen. Paul Kennedy spread mayonnaise on wraps; Jessica Douin was at the end of the production line at another table wrapping them in plastic. The Green Ladle’s dining room had most tables covered with paper bags for deliveries or cleaning supplies and disposable gloves.
“People are stepping up. It”s nice to see people who care,” Maureen Caron said. In addition to people dropping off contributions at the Green Ladle, Modern Woodmen of American and Androscoggin Bank have helped in an effort that DanCaron says costs about $1,000 a day. A recent lunch consisted of a turkey wrap, potato chips, a roll with butter and a cookie.
Local businesses have made donations of food to help with expenses. They included DaVinci’s restaurant of Lewiston, the Chick-a-Dee of Lewiston, Rolly’s Diner in New Auburn and Hurricane’s Premium Soup & Chowders i Greene.. DaVinci’s also lent its van so Green Ladle staff could use it for deliveries.
Retired LRTC teacher and nurse Cathy Liguori reviewed the importance of wearing masks and gloves with volunteers before they headed out with containers holding the bagged lunches. She reminded them that people may not have symptoms of COVID-19 but can spread the virus.
LRTC Principal Rob Callahan and Lewiston High School Principal Jake Langlais both put on masks before listening to Liguori’s advice. Lewiston High School teachers pitched in with deliveries, along with retirees such as Paul Sarrazin, who previously worked for UPS and helped with the planning of delivery routes to make them as efficient as possible.
The Green Ladle can be reached at 207-777-3199.
PHOTO: Chef Dan Caron listens while following social distancing as Cathy Liguori talks to food delivery volunteers about the importance of wearing masks and gloves. (Submitted photo)