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At Nashoba Tech, a balanced meal in an unbalanced time

Wendy Bonnell of Hudson, Nashoba Tech’s cafeteria manager, makes sure the school has enough food for the students.
Wendy Bonnell of Hudson, Nashoba Tech’s cafeteria manager, makes sure the school has enough food for the students.

WESTFORD – When schools in Massachusetts were ordered closed until April 6 — and then through May 3 — the food-service workers at Nashoba Valley Technical High School knew what had to be done.

Cafeteria worker Yuka Kambara of Westford prepares to pack a ‘grab-and-go’ bag.

They have worked every weekday since the school closed, providing breakfast and lunch to any student who wants it.

Wendy Bonnell, Nashoba Tech’s cafeteria manager, and her staff are in the school at 7 a.m. They clean all the equipment, then prepare a “grab-and-go” paper bag with cereal, milk and fruit for breakfast, and a sandwich and healthy snack for lunch.

Students can come to the school, at 100 Littleton Road, Westford, Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to noon, to pick up their brown bag.

Cafeteria worker Jamie Green of Lowell packs a case with brown-bag breakfasts and lunches for students.

Bonnell said her staff is “supplying nutritional meals to students from all the different towns,” including the eight district communities of Ayer, Chelmsford, Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Townsend and Westford.

“We miss our students, but we’re making sure everybody is healthy during this difficult period,” Bonnell said.

Students are directed to an isolated area inside the school, where they receive their lunch and exit the building, all while keeping appropriate distance from staff and other students.

Donna Tanguay of Tyngsboro wipes down the equipment in the cafeteria.

“We’ve opened doors to all students who want a meal,” Bonnell said. “We’re expecting higher numbers as this goes on.”

Nashoba Tech Superintendent Denise Pigeon said “ensuring continuity of meals has been a focus since the first day of closure.”

“Our amazing food-service staff have done an outstanding job ensuring food security and providing an invaluable service to our students and families,” Pigeon added. “We are committed to ensuring this continues as long as necessary.”

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