UMass truck bringing meals to Amherst students

  • UMass is using its Baby Berk food truck to deliver meals for public school students at several locations in town.

Staff Writer
Published: 3/26/2020 2:26:15 PM

AMHERST — In the summer of 2018, the University of Massachusetts began having its BabyBerk food truck leave the campus to distribute free meals to children and teenagers at several locations in town.

As part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, UMass Dining is using the food truck to offer two daily meals, breakfast and lunch, to 400 students in Amherst’s public schools at seven sites in town.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m. weekdays, the food truck, for about 15 minutes at each location, will be at Olympia Oaks, North Village, Village Park, Southpoint Apartments, Butternut Apartments, Colonial Village and Rolling Green Apartments, completing the deliveries by 1 p.m. The meals are for students to have the following day.

The program is similar to one that was implemented two years ago during the summer months while students were on vacation, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service and administered by the state’s Department of Education.

Ken Toong, executive director of auxiliary enterprises at UMass Amherst, said in a statement that the program shows the willingness of UMass to assist the community in getting through the pandemic.

“It’s always good to be able to help neighbors in need, especially during this uncertain time,” Toong said.

Garett DiStefano, director of dining services, said the goal of this program is to provide healhy and sustainable meals created by dining staff. “We’re building community around food during this unprecedented time,” DiStefano said.

The program will continue until public schools reopen. If schools don’t reopen before June 30, the program will transition to the summer meals service.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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