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PATHS' Harvest Meal Helps Students, Community

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PATHS' Harvest Meal Helps Students, Community
Posted on 11/20/2014

The delicious turkey dinner that students in the Food Services program at Portland Arts and Technology High School dished up Thursday, Nov. 20 not only helped them learn about working in the food industry but also resulted in food donations for hungry Maine families.

PATHS’ Harvest Meal is a tradition at the school that dates back more than 20 years, according to PATHS instructor Rebecca Davis.

Under the direction of Food Services teacher Philip Divinsky, the students prepare turkeys – usually 18 to 20 large turkeys, which are donated by PATHS staff – as well as stuffing, potato, squash, veggies, cranberry sauce, gravy, rolls and about 100 pies. “They serve the meal to the students and staff in the building – at least 600 people – as well as inviting their families to show off their hard work,” Davis said.

The food service program prepares students for entry-level employment in the food industry. “This meal is a great way to get the students engaged in the hands-on preparation of a meal, especially on such a large scale, as well as to give them an opportunity to experience the customer relations aspect of it, as they serve all the students in different shifts,” Davis explained. “This is the only opportunity during the year that the students get the opportunity to experience buffet-style serving.”

The program asks that guests bring donations of canned or boxed goods to be given to the Wayside Food Rescue Program, which was a huge success this year, Davis said. “Through this the students discuss and practice being concerned citizens and taking part in the community,” she said.

Wayside Food Programs rescues and distributes food to 47 partner agencies feeding households throughout Cumberland County.

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Philip Divinsky, PATHS Food Services teacher, and Ellen Lachapelle,
PATHS office manager get into the spirit of the season at the annual PATHS Harvest Meal.