Academy’s commitment to community values shine in this time of need
When BMA’s campus closed abruptly at the end of March due to the emerging COVID-19 situation, Executive Chef Peter Ireland ‘92 wasted no time figuring out how to shift gears from cranking out 300 meals a day for student/athletes to 2,500 meals a week for senior citizens of the Northeast Kingdom.
The kitchen in BMA’s dining hall has been busy in the weeks since the school’s closing as Peter, Sous Chef Nate Maleski, and cook Jonathan Kimball slice, dice, boil and broil happily away to meet the ever-increasing needs of Meals on Wheels.
Academy staff joined in supporting the effort by volunteering to deliver the meals in BMA vans to private homes and meal sites from Troy, VT to Ryegate, VT.
Laura Valcour, Director of Nutrition and Wellness and Meg Burmeister, Executive Director at the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging had this to share about Peter and his team:
“As The Northeast Council on Aging began to face the challenges being faced by older residents facing the national health emergency, we were approached by an angel who said: “I’ve got experience, resources, and can help”. Peter Ireland’s first outreach to us by email was met with curiosity. As our team began to develop a plan to feed more people through the home-delivered meals program, we spoke to Peter and the friendship between Burke Mountain Academy and the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging developed. The home-delivered meal program is run through contracts that the Council has with 18 meal providers throughout the Northeast Kingdom. Many of those nonprofit groups run on a shoestring budget and largely operate with a volunteer network. Additionally faced with many of those volunteers being “high risk” added to the complications of keeping meals flowing in the community to allow people to shelter in place. Peter’s team jumped on board and several sites signed on immediately to have his group prepare their meals. When a meal preparation site needed to suspend activity, he stepped right up and in a few short days helped us join the forces to get meals out.”
Burkies are known for embracing community values and this effort is a glowing testament to this long-standing commitment.
“There is a real sense of appreciation,” said volunteer driver and FIS Men’s Coach Jeff Sirjane. “It’s humbling to see how much receiving these meals means to the recipients, it really puts our lives into perspective,” he concluded.
To read more from the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging, click here.