Maria Filippelli sat in front of Sleepy Hollow Middle School on a recent morning doing what she loves – feeding children. Filippelli is the Food Service Manager for Whitsons Food Services, the company retained by the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns to help feed families in need when the pandemic began. And they have continued to provide that service each weekday, no questions asked.
The District has provided 101,278 meals since schools closed in March “COVID-19 has affected our region and school community in many ways. Several families have lost income during this time and food insecurity has become increasingly prevalent,” said Assistant Superintendent for Business Joy Myke.
While Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.28 states that school districts must continue to provide “meal programs and childcare for essential employees” Ms. Myke says that the Public Schools of the Tarrytowns see it as their duty to ensure that all families have the food they need to sustain their families.
“I love these kids,” said Filippelli. “I am grateful and fulfilled knowing that I helped people.” The bonds Filippelli has created are evident. She greets the families and even remembers how many meals they require. “I have a family who picks up food for their neighbors,” she explained.
One Sleepy Hollow resident who was picking up food to take home to her grandchildren said, “It helps supplement the meals at home.”
The District is also managing – and grateful for – the additional support it is receiving from the community and even plans to continue this service going forward, every summer when camps and programs resume.
“Over the last few months we have partnered with the Foundation, Stone Barns Center and The Gullotta House to provide additional food options for those in our community that are struggling to feed their family,” explained Myke.
Every family receives a nutritious breakfast and lunch that includes fruit and vegetables when they stop by any of the three distribution locations: Washington Irving; W.L. Morse; or Sleepy Hollow Middle School. What’s more, on Fridays, families receive three additional breakfasts and lunches, so no one goes hungry over the weekend.
Families can receive meals Monday through Friday ending on August 21. A representative will be at WI from 11:45a.m.-12:45p.m., at Morse from 10:30 am-11:30am and at SHMS from 10:00am – 1:00pm.
Questions about the program can be directed to Joy Myke at firstname.lastname@example.org.