SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – In order to teach students about healthy eating and kitchen safety, MGM Springfield chefs turned the South End Middle School gym into a professional kitchen.

This comes after MGM adopts the South End Middle School from Springfield Public Schools, for the 2022 to 2023 school year. Through this initiative, Springfield Public Schools, students, teachers, and staff is to receive support, including volunteerism and donations.

Thursday marks the first day of the Adopt-a-School annual initiative. “It just seemed very natural for this to be our very first school and we’re just so excited to feel the enthusiasm,” said Beth Ward, MGM Director of Community Affairs.

The cooking demonstration is the start of many programs for middle school students. Watching the chefs cook meals hands-on brought many smiles to the student’s faces. “Many was based on healthy options for the kids and teaching them another way to cook and how to have fun and be safe while cooking,” said Omar Echeverria, MGM Executive Chef.

Three lucky students, who were named student of the month, were able to work with the chefs and be the first to try the breakfast food items. “It was fun, I got to go up there with my friend,” expressed South End Middle School 7th grader Serenity Phillip. “It was good, I think it had like egg and turkey in it.”

A total of 250 meals were served to students at the middle school.

“It’s really a treat to have something special and plated for them and to really see how excited they are about that because we know that healthy food choices really means that when you’re in a classroom you’re going to be able to engage better in that teaching-learning,” explained South End Middle School Principal Yara DePalma-Gonzalez.

“It’s just one more way we engage, celebrate, and support our community,” added Chris Kelley, MGM Springfield President. “We knew that food insecurity is a challenge, we know that our families are working multiple jobs so if there is anything we can do to lend a helping hand, it’s something we want to do, it’s something our MGM members really want to do, so this is a wonderful way to do it.”

Making this a memorable year for students at the middle school will be a long-term effort on MGM’s part. MGM will partner with a different school every year.