School cafeteria manager Diane Blick poses for a photograph featured in the “Food For Thought” art exhibit. Photo by J.M. Giordano.

The Baltimore Museum of Industry is presenting an art exhibit honoring Baltimore City Public Schools’ food and nutrition service workers who have ensured students are fed and nutritionally prepared for learning during the pandemic.

The “Food For Thought” exhibition features photography from award-winning Baltimore-based photojournalist J.M. Giordano with oral histories recorded by WYPR podcaster and producer Aaron Henkin.

The temporary exhibition is currently available for preview, at no charge, in the lobby of City Schools headquarters on E. North Avenue. 

The Baltimore Museum of Industry will display the full, larger exhibition in January 2023. 

Nearly one-third of Baltimore children live in an area with limited access to fresh food, and oftentimes schools are the only places where they can receive well-balanced, nutritional meals.

“A child cannot learn if they are hungry. We give them the nourishment they need in order to function,” said Sheila Alston, a retired Food & Nutrition Operations Manager, in a statement.

“Food For Thought” highlights the workers who ensure Baltimore families get regular meals, said Beth Maloney, director of interpretation at the BMI and part of the curatorial team for the exhibition.

“We’re delighted to be able to shine a spotlight on the workers who cared for Baltimore’s students and their families throughout the pandemic by tirelessly packaging and distributing meals to their communities,” Maloney said in a statement. “In some instances, these were the only meals families received, as many households depend on schools to provide regular meals to their children.”

In March 2020, when schools shut down due to COVID-19, the school system’s food and nutrition workers ran 28 grab-and-go meal sites that provided pre-packaged meals and fresh produce. Meals were also delivered to the homes of “medically fragile and high-needs students.”

According to museum officials, these frontline workers prepared and distributed more than 88,000 meals daily and served more than 11 million meals last school year.  

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Latrice Hill

Latrice Hill is a Baltimore native and Morgan State University graduate who loves all the great things this city has to offer. She worked with WMAR 2-News as an Assignment Desk Editor before she joined...