• Sharing a Meal and Much More

    -Jillian Makris-

    In the beginning of the 2019-2020 school year, an idea was born to help those less fortunate in the Sayville community. Ms. Rymer and Mr. Anzalone teamed up to feed the hungry, twice a month, at the local soup kitchen in Sayville.

    Ms. Rymer notes, “in keeping with the Sayville STRIDES program, students from Mr. Anzalone’s class, with the help of myself, their teachers and support staff in the classroom, provided grab-and-go meals to those in need.” Students made sandwiches, baked brownies, gathered fruit and packaged it all for distribution. Students also include personalized notes of cheer for those receiving meals. The meals were then delivered after school on Thursdays, twice a month. What was the result of the hard work, generosity and determination of our staff and students? Those in need were able to receive these pre-packaged meals to enjoy over the weekend, because typically, the soup kitchen served hot meals only between Monday through Thursday.

    But, it did not end there! Ms. Estelle, teacher’s aide, then connected the class to the Blankets of Hope organization. After Ms. Estelle purchased forty-eight blankets, students folded the blankets and placed them in bags to deliver alongside the meals.

    Throughout this process, students learned about empathy, gratitude and the truth in the adage that there is more happiness in giving than there is in receiving.

    As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety restrictions imposed, normal hot-meal service had to be suspended and the soup kitchen began providing grab-and-go meal service. Now, the need to provide meals was even more urgent. To continue the amazing work of our students, Ms. Rymer reached out to her local community in Blue Point and the Sayville Special Education Department where she works as the transition coordinator. Ms. Rymer recalls that both her community and the Special Education Department “heard her call for help, stepped up to the challenge and donated generously in any way that they could.” This allowed Ms. Rymer to provide grab-and-go meals  two to three nights a week since the middle of March, providing 80-120 meals each week! Mr. Anzalone quickly jumped at the opportunity to continue his contribution to this worthy cause. Now, he along with Ms. Amella-Pesko, Middle School English teacher, are working to provide grab-and-go meals on Mondays throughout the month of May. Mr. Anzalone reports that “this has been a wonderful and humbling experience.” Ms. Rymer adds that “as social distancing continues and until we can return to some sense of normalcy, it is my hope to continue to be able to provide meals to those less fortunate on a regular basis.”

    Thank you to the dedicated efforts of Ms. Rymer, Mr. Anzalone, Ms. Amella-Pesko, Mrs. Estelle, and our wonderful students who never cease to amaze us: Vienna Cooley, Reginald Elton, Jacob Feldman, Emilie Marinho, Julianna Sagginario, Cole Amodemo, Claire Constantino, Justice Copes-King, Chris Kavanagh, Amelia McCarthy, and Emma Perry.

Grab-and-Go Meals
Preparing bagged meals
Grab-and-Go Meals
Meal Prep by students
Assembling Grab-and-Go meals
bagging meals
bagging meals
sorting snacks
packing bags
Sandwich assembly