WAKEFIELD– When Northeast Metro Tech prepared to transition to hybrid learning this month for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began and schools nationwide began holding remote learning last March, Culinary Instructor Liz Beals saw the change as an opportunity for her students to help members of the community facing hardship.
Hybrid learning began at Northeast Metro Tech on Dec. 3, and in the weeks leading up to that time, Beals formed a relationship with My Brother’s Table, a hospitality based nonprofit in Lynn which provides free meals to anyone in the community. There are no prerequisites to accessing the services at My Brother’s Table, a principle of the organization meant to ensure anyone in need of help feels comfortable and welcome to visit.
My Brother’s Table has seen a significant rise in the number of people accessing its services amid the ongoing pandemic, and served more than 600,000 meals from January through November of this year.
To help support this work, students in the Culinary Arts program at Northeast Metro Tech will be preparing a meal for the nonprofit approximately once a week for the foreseeable future. The first donation was made on Friday, Dec. 11.
“Initially, when the pandemic first started there were a lot more income supports for people and now as we’ve seen some of those disappear, it has become harder for people,” said My Brother’s Table Executive Director Dianne Kuzia Hills. “There is so much need and we’re seeing all kinds of folks that we’ve never seen before here. It is virtually impossible for us to keep up with that demand by ourselves so we really turn to community partners and other folks to help us out, and having young people be a part of that has been great.”
Culinary Arts students at Northeast Metro Tech prepared a brisket for the Dec. 11 donation, which Beals delivered to My Brother’s Table.
“When I discovered we were doing a project where we would donate a bunch of food to My Brother’s Table in Lynn, it made me want to do even better. It gave me even more motivation to come back and really help out that cause, and prepare the food for the people that really do need it right now,” said Connor Ayers, a Culinary Arts senior from Saugus.
“I am so proud of the students,” Beals said. “This is an experience that contributes to who they are as a person, their humanity, who they are as a professional. I really want students to understand that a vast majority of our food production would, could or should go to people that need it, that need access to it, that need it to be affordable for them.”