We are impressed with the gratitude our students and their families have expressed to us in our ability to immediately respond with remote learning and create new methods for services and programs to support the most critical needs of our families. To combat the food insecurity experienced by many of our Dream Camp families, we have teamed up Emmy award winning chef and host of a cooking show on Tastemade.com, Chef Frankie Celenza and a third generation suburban Philadelphia family owned specialty food purveyor to introduce the Dream Camp Relief Meals Initiative.
Unlike other food programs across the country where people wait in long lines for a random assortment of available ingredients, at Dream Camp, subject matter expert, Chef Frankie, develops a weekly meal plan, coupled with culinary skills videos (ie. Show & tell concept) for each recipe.
After contacting over 10 national and medium size food purveyors in Philadelphia and Hartford who could not promise to collaborate with us the way we requested, Carlino’s Market, in Ardmore and Westchester, PA have been assembling the weekly Dream Meals care packages. The packages include all the proteins, vegetables and spices needed to create five different delicious dinners each week. Dream Camp team members pick up the meals from Carlino’s on Thursday’s and deliver the meals along with print-outs of the recipes (in English and Spanish) with links to Chef Frankie’s videos which demonstrate how to cook each meal.
Over the past 5 weeks, the ESF Dream Camp team has delivered to each family’s doorstep approximately 6,000 dinners (and counting) to families that were identified as being in “critical need” of food.
Families have been so engaged with this program and sending pictures of the great feasts they are creating and the new culinary skills they are acquiring. We’ve even had a “Dream Meals Virtual Cook-Off” and offered prizes for the winning families who created a meal together from the recipe and supplies they’ve been provided.
This program has been an overwhelming success and is far superior to any other food program out there. Unlike what is happening across the country where families must go to the school district in person or wait in long car lines for food, Dream Camp is delivering the meals directly to family’s homes and teaching them how to cook, work together and eat healthy during this unsettling moment in history.