Congratulations to the 2021 WAMDA Award Recipients!

After some delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic, WAMDA was able to acknowledge our 2021 award recipients virtually on March 30th. The Special Recognition Awards recognize two nutrition professionals for outstanding service to WAMDA, their dedication and expertise in the field of nutrition. Congratulations to Melanie Wilk and Lisa Lovell!

Melanie Wilk, RDN, LDN – Foodservice Director, Chicopee Public Schools

Melanie was nominated for the RD award by Judy Dowd. In her foodservice-management rotation at Chicopee Public Schools, her preceptor determined that she quickly mastered the various duties involved in serving school meals for 13 schools, while also efficiently managing staff. Her work ethic along with her strong networking skills made her an outstanding candidate for the food service director position, which she accepted upon graduation from her DI with UMASS. In this role, she has excelled in navigating the sudden changes forced upon public schools during the pandemic with both expertise and grace. Her creativity and ability to keep everything flowing to ensure students were being fed is admirable, and further speaks to her sense of dedication to this role. In addition to this role, Melanie has consistently successfully balanced the challenges of completing her Dietetic Internship and first post-graduate position while also raising a family of her own. The nutrition community is proud to have RD’s like Melanie out in the community proficiently using her nutrition expertise to make the community a better plan for all students.

Lisa Lovell - Nutrition Program Director at WestMass ElderCare

Lisa was nominated for the Non-RD Award by Katie-Defoe Raymond. To provide brief background, Lisa has her B.S. in Nutrition with past roles including the Director of Patient Services at Dana Farber, the Catering Manager at the Boston Museum of Science, and later Director of Food Service at local retirement and skilled nursing facilities until taking on and growing within her current job for the past 20 years.  Lisa is the backbone of the WMEC Nutrition Department. As the result of her compassion, advocacy, and unwavering high standards for consumers, WMEC has developed a progressive medically tailored meal program that is ahead of most other Meals on Wheels programs in the state. During the start of the pandemic, she pivoted without hesitation to redesign the meal program and was able to accommodate the 36% increase in home delivered meal consumers despite short staffing.  Under Lisa’s direction, the Nutrition Department did not miss one day of operation.  That equates to the successful delivery of over 834,000 meals to consumers during COVID.  While accomplishing all of this, she was also a single mom raising two strong, independent girls of her own. We recognize how Lisa’s dedication and work ethic directly impact the nutrition care of our local community and further recognize her accomplishments with this award.