Check out our  Mainland Regional Education Association’s hard work supporting their students!

LINWOOD — Helping students is something members of the Mainland Regional Education Association do routinely.

What the pandemic has taught everyone, including Mainland teachers and staff, is that literally nothing is routine anymore. Now those educators, who were spending hours inside and outside of the classroom encouraging students to be successful in their studies and sports, have continued to help by delivering food to their families.

According to Tina Columbo of the MREA, members have witnessed firsthand the economic effect of COVID-19 on students’ families and local businesses. In an effort to help those school families, as well as the local businesses that have been crushed by the pandemic, the MREA are using their funds to help provide meals for local families by purchasing from local restaurants.

The MREA has often turned to local eateries for fundraisers. Now they have turned to those same places to support them by purchasing dinners that are then delivered by the MREA members to families whose children go to the school.

The teacher’s union has partnered with DiOrio’s Circle Cafe, Marsini’s Kitchen, Charlie’s Bar and Restaurant and Walt’s Original Primo Pizza in Somers Point and Chido Burrito in Northfield.

Columbo said MREA members began delivering meals to families the week of May 21 and have continued through the end of this week. In the first week, 195 meals were purchased and delivered from the five local restaurants to 42 families.

The following week another 198 meals were purchased to help feed another 43 families, and this final week of the effort will yield similar numbers, according to Erika Melhorn, an MREA member who is helping with the effort.

Columbo said MREA members have been enthusiastic to be a part of the effort and dozens of teachers and support staff signed up for two-hour shifts to deliver meals.

One teacher relayed her feelings and said when she dropped off food to a home where two sisters lived that had been students, it was especially nice to be able to chat through the window.

The teacher was so happy to speak with her students and know they are doing well that she felt she may have gotten more out of the visit than what she delivered. But tears in the grandmother’s eyes told the story of how much the MREA help was appreciated.