AUGUSTA — The pizzas were baked, loaded and delivered to hungry school staff Wednesday, part of a weeklong effort by local businesses to show appreciation as classrooms prepare to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Cushnoc Brewing Co. employees Alexis Lane and Morgan MacMaster were among those sliding boxes of pizza into Amanda Olson’s vehicle Wednesday on Water Street in downtown Augusta. Cushnoc, College Carryout and Red Barn all donated lunches to different Augusta schools on different days this week.

Augusta Board of Education members Staci Fortunato, Amanda Olson and Jennifer Dumond coordinated the donations and made the deliveries. The effort, according to a news release, is meant to recognize the efforts of school staff as they “are faced with long work days, delays of supply shipments, and staffing shortages as they try to get classrooms ready to meet safety guidelines and prepare for a new, complex hybrid learning model, which combines in-classroom and remote learning.”

“It’s the community that supports us, so it’s our way of giving back,” said Lou Craig, owner of College Carry-Out in Augusta, which provided pizza to Gilbert and Lincoln elementary schools.

Hannaford Supermarkets in Augusta has also donated chips, bottled water and fresh fruit for all schools and Sam’s Club has provided cookies.

“When I sent out the ‘ask’ to local restaurants, I wasn’t sure what they would say,” Olson said. “To provide an all-expense-paid staff luncheon for schools with anywhere from 60 to 130 educators … that’s a big ask. They all agreed to help without hesitation. The support was really heartwarming, especially given how tough it’s been for restaurants over the past few months. It really shows that we are all in this together.”


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