Lewiston High School senior Walter Jackson, 18, helps prepare meals to go at The Green Ladle in Lewiston on Wednesday. “We all thought this was a good idea because our community is struggling right now,” Jackson said. The senior class chose to help those in need rather than taking a class trip. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

LEWISTON — The way the culinary students saw it was they could enjoy one fancy meal themselves, or they could provide 500 meals to elderly shut-ins, disabled veterans and first responders in the city.

The senior class of 23 students at The Green Ladle in the Lewiston Regional Technical Center on East Avenue had been saving their tips from functions since the beginning of their junior year. The money was going to pay for dinner at DiMillo’s on the Water in Portland, plus a small shopping trip in the Old Port.

Takeout meals are prepared at The Green Ladle in Lewiston on Wednesday. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

The tip jar reached $1,300 when the coronavirus pandemic spread to Maine and the students wanted to help those in need.

Through an online chat, the seniors considered their options. They asked their teacher, Dan Caron, how many meals their savings could provide. Caron told them 500.

“That’s all it took,” Caron said. “One meal or 500?”

The money was in use Wednesday, day two of The Green Ladle’s effort to provide meals to Lewiston’s seniors who are unable to get out of their homes on their own, first responders and disabled veterans.

“We prepared 190 meals today and we expect to be up to 300 meals each day by next week,” Caron said.

Wednesday’s meals of beef, rice and broccoli, or chicken tenders with vegetables, were being cooked, organized and delivered to shut-ins by volunteers.

Volunteers Dulsie Varney of Turner and Maurice Bernier of Lisbon delivered 28 meals from The Green Ladle in Lewiston on Wednesday in a van provided by the owner of DaVinci’s Eatery. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

“The only cost is the food,” Caron said. “Everything else is done by volunteers.”

Green Ladle alumni Joe Chouinard and his father, Steven, both helped in the kitchen Wednesday.

Joe, a graduate of Edward Little High School in Auburn, was serving an apprenticeship in the kitchen of the Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire when the coronavirus shut the business down.

“I get bored easily,” he said. “I’m used to working 80 hours a week. So here I am.”

Caron said he has money for meals this week and next.

“The goal is to go three weeks,” said Caron, who hopes donations will help them meet their goal.

“DaVinci’s has been amazing,” Caron said of the Lewiston restaurant whose owner provided food at no cost to The Green Ladle and a van to help with deliveries.

Senior Walter Jackson peeled carrots Wednesday for the following day’s meal. “We all thought this was a good idea,” Jackson said, “because our community is struggling right now.”

Elderly shut-ins, first responders and disabled veterans who need food can call 777-3199 or 777-5897 from 8-11 a.m. Monday through Friday to order. Meals can be picked up curbside or delivered to those who cannot get to The Green Ladle.

Head chef Dan Caron, center, and retired school nurse Cathy Liguori organize takeout meals at The Green Ladle in Lewiston on Wednesday. The meals were picked up curbside by Lewiston residents in need. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal


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