Culinary Arts Students Give Back

Culinary Arts Students Give Back

Melbourne –  Everyone in North Central Arkansas has been affected in one way or another by the recent ice storms.  One of the most powerful affects was the lack of electricity due to fallen limbs and downed power lines and poles.  The electric companies have worked tirelessly for weeks to restore power to thousands of customers.

The North Arkansas Electrical Cooperative, based in Salem, with an office in Ash Flat, is the cooperative electric company which serves Baxter, Izard, Sharp, and Fulton Counties.  The men and women who work for NAEC, as well as other electric cooperatives from around Arkansas and other states have put in many long hours during this disaster, some working well into the night under unpleasant conditions.  These workers have to eat and get rest at some point, but with so many reporting in each night, it has been quite an undertaking to provide meals.

NAEC contacted Ozarka to inquire if the Culinary Department would be available to help out with meals.  Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Michael DeLong states, “When we were contacted about the culinary students cooking and serving food to these workers, there was no doubt that they would want to step up and volunteer their time.  Upon discussing the idea with instructors, Linda Taylor and Mimi Newsome, they wanted to take this on as a service learning project for their department.”

For three consecutive days, the students and instructors prepared and served food to over 200 workers per night.  Instructor, Linda Taylor says, “It was quite a responsibility for us to do this in addition to our other activities and classroom work, but it has been a great learning experience for the students.”

This was treated as a learning project and the students actually planned the menu, cooked the food and set up to serve each day’s meal.  Every culinary student worked at least one night, loading and carrying the food to the Ash Flat office of NAEC.  Taylor and Newsome were there every night to supervise the activities.

Taylor adds, “We are glad to have had the opportunity to give back to the NAEC and other co-op workers.  This was rewarding for all of us and we are very proud to have served those giving their time and energy to help restore our area’s electricity.”