School Nurse Mary Kanarvogel described the food delivery service to approximately 70 students who are eligible for free or reduced meals “like the light of the day.”
She and other volunteers began Monday bringing meals to students’ houses.
To avoid any chance of spreading the coronavirus, the meals are left at the door. Ms. Kanarvogel described seeing smiling faces of students looking through windows and, in many cases, their parents also at the windows, smiling at the effort being made to ensure their children are not forgotten during this difficult time.
The meals include fresh fruits and vegetables, and like the food the students get at school, are well-balanced meals.
“We’re very lucky here,” Ms. Kanarvogel said, noting the number of volunteers who have come forward to help.
She admitted the first day of the deliveries, Monday, was a bit tricky because some of the houses are down paths that aren’t clearly marked. But by Tuesday morning, the process was smooth with good organization and efficient deliveries.
In addition to volunteers, some part-time town workers have helped with deliveries and received their regular pay so as not to penalize them financially for the interruption in their regular jobs.
Beginning Wednesday, Shelter Island School personnel were organized to begin delivering iPads, Chromebooks and lesson materials to students, handling it in the same way, by leaving packages on doorsteps to abide by social distancing.
Similar meal deliveries have been organized by Karin Bennett, who runs the town’s nutrition program, and Senior Services Director Laurie Fanelli.
In normal times, food is served at the Senior Center on Wednesdays and to others through the Dinner Bell Program on Mondays and Fridays at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church. Instead, that food is being delivered to seniors’ houses.
The Shelter Island Food Pantry has also expanded its hours of operation so anyone in need of food can pick it up there. Deer meat is also available without charge in a unit at the town Recycling Center.