Seminole schools hand out 60,000 meals a week to children in need

Red Apple Dining utilizes curbside meals for many

ALTAMONTE SPRINGS, Fla. – On Tuesday night, the Seminole County School Board approved an emergency purchase order for paper bags, worth more than $55,000, to help feed children stuck at home.

It’s part of Red Apple Dining’s curbside service offered during the coronavirus pandemic to any child, regardless of where they live.

“Red Apple Dining is the dining service function for Seminole County Public Schools,” assistant director Jamie DeVivo said. “We’re giving them all the pieces of the meal for breakfast and for lunch. It’s definitely a need, it’s definitely meaningful work.”

When the pandemic began, curbside meals were only offered at six locations. Now, there are 25, including several bus delivery routes. DeVivo estimates that 60,000 meals are given out each week across the county.

Eddie Salazar makes up part of this team of kitchen managers working for Red Apple Dining. When the pandemic began, Teague Middle School became Salazar’s new home base.

"Hasn’t been easy, but we’re all busy," Salazar, the kitchen manager normally at Wekiva Elementary School, said. "It keeps some kind of sanity for us as well.

After preparing for several hours each morning, the team moves outside to the bus drop off lane, where families greet and grab meals, utilizing no-contact social distancing.

"I miss my kids," Salazar said. "I get to see some of them in the car line when they pick it up."

The bus drop off will hand out just under 800 meals a day to students who need them, DeVivo said.

“We’ve gotten to meet a lot of people that are regulars now,” Salazar added. “They see the hard work we’re putting in. More than anything, we appreciate them coming by. We’re still serving the kids. Still here for the community and I think we’re all here for that.”

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