The kitchen staff at Kieve-Wavus Education, Inc. are no strangers to making meals for their neighbors in need. From March 2020 to April 2021 they ran a meal delivery program at their campus in Nobleboro for Lincoln County Food Initiative, and provided over 50,000 home-cooked meals. When their camp operations started up again, they stepped back from the meal production world, but they didn’t stay away for long. Through a new collaboration, they have been processing food and making meals for the patrons of the Wiscasset food pantry.
“It came together really quickly,” said Jess Breithaupt, food security community connector at Healthy Lincoln County. “I had just gotten off a call with area food pantries, where they said there’s still a need for home-cooked meals for people that have difficulty cooking or are living in campers. The pantry had food to donate if there was an organization that could cook for them.” Once Kieve-Wavus leadership heard the need, they jumped to action to provide a solution. Lee Giberson, head chef at Kieve, immediately started planning meals based on the bulk food available at the pantry. Breithaupt worked to provide transport by picking up food from the pantry, and delivering meals from the kitchens.
It’s not just meals that the kitchen staff are helping with. Breithaupt works with Twin Villages Foodbank Farm, which distributes cabbage, squash and carrots to food pantries from this fall’s harvest. She started sending some of their cabbage and butternut squash to the kitchens for processing. “It’s hard for older adults to peel and cube butternut squashes, or shred cabbage,” said Breithaupt. “So we started bringing some of that food to the kitchens, where they shred and package it into quart sized bags, which we then bring to the pantries.”
So far the kitchens have processed 300 pounds of produce, and have made over 200 meals for the Wiscasset food pantry. They are continuing to make meals on a weekly basis. “One of the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic was the coming together of our community to help with the Lincoln County Food Initiative,” said Charlie Richardson, senior advisor to Kieve-Wavus Education. “It has been a rewarding experience for Kieve-Wavus Education to help eliminate food insecurity in Midcoast Maine.”