Volunteers help feed investigators in Celina Cass case
West Stewartstown, New Hampshire - August 3, 2011
Stewartstown School Food Director Debbie Boivin checks her inventory inside the refrigerator.
"Pretty hectic," she said.
Typically Boivin is responsible for feeding 85 children during the school year, including 11-year-old Celina Cass.
"Our little girl was missing, and in this little school here, they are our children," Boivin said.
But over the past week she helped feed hundreds of police officers who investigated the girl's suspicious disappearance.
"The guys are out there beating the bushes. They are working hard, they need calories," said William Allen, the Stewartstown Emergency Management Director.
"We even had to remind the adults about their napkins, do you have your silverware," Boivin said.
And Boivin wasn't alone. More than 50 volunteers took shifts, working around the clock to staff the kitchen because investigators worked through the night.
"There's no big rush, it's just kind of when they can eat, they ate," volunteer Maryann Neary said.
The volunteers say investigators thanked them for the home-cooked meals, like chicken pot pie. Investigators said they usually rely on fast food. One night more than 14 platters of homemade lasagna were served. But authorities had their favorite foods on the menu.
"Like the kids, the chicken fingers," Boivin said. "I guess even the big kids like chicken fingers."
"It comes in so fast, so furious, I can't keep track," Allen said.
Donations have also poured in from all over New England and Canada. Allen estimates $15,000 worth of food, drinks and other supplies, like napkins, paper towels and utensils were given to help feed law enforcement officers.
"When it hits the fan, it becomes one huge town. Borders don't mean anything," Allen said.
Unfortunately, the search for Celina did not have the outcome investigators and the community hoped for. Boivin says she's sad she won't be serving the little girl next year.
"It's just very hard," she said. "But she's at peace, they found her."
Now, many of the investigators have left. Just a few dozen remain. But the volunteers say the kitchen is open until everyone leaves.