Ludlow down and dark but still strong

Jordan Leal, News Editor

Ludlow town officials and selectmen chose Ludlow High School as a shelter for anyone who needed assistance the week of Oct. 30 to Nov. 3, due to the devastating storm that left thousands without electricity.

Ludlow High School, which was powered by an emergency generator, opened its doors to not only the citizens of Ludlow, but also Springfield for those looking for anything from a cup of coffee to a place to sleep. The shelter was reported to have a minimum of 100 people who slept there each night and served 4,859 meals  before the shelter closed its doors Nov.3 at 1 p.m.

“The food was distributed like a normal lunch routine in Ludlow High School. All the people stood in a line in whichever section they would like, and waited one by one to receive their food,” said head of the cafeteria staff Cheryl Matthess.

The food to feed all these people was gifted by various local businesses such as Randalls’, Radical Roaster, and Tony and Penny’s.

“I was truly blindsided by all the generosity I saw over the week, we were given healthy and expensive food such as fresh fruit, deli platters, and rolls, to quiches, roasted chicken and potatoes, with all sorts of different pies and cookies for dessert,” said Matthess.

Their menu consisted of the food that was supposed to be served the week that school was cancelled, featuring dishes such as a sample platter with mozzarella sticks, french fries, and chicken fingers, deli sandwiches, and mac and cheese.

At the end of dinner, once the kitchens were closed, the cafeteria workers left a table with coffee, water, some cookies, and other little snacks for people to munch on throughout the night and into the morning.

“The shelter and the food were welcome to anyone! There was one check-in point at the top of the ramp where people had to state their name and address, but that was it…no fees, no hustle,” said Matthess.

Superintendent Kenneth J. Grew closed the shelter Thursday, right before lunch time to clean up and get the school back to normal for classes to resume Monday morning as scheduled.

But in the end, “Ludlow came together, like they always do,” said Matthess.