Safely Open: How Brighton Center Reopened in May

Safely Open: How Brighton Center Reopened in May

The contagious sound of youthful laughter fills the bright hallways along with the undercurrent of a muted but detectable scuffle of tiny shoes shuffling across the floors.

A child raises her voice to say, “Hi, Miss Monica!”

The time is approaching 7:30 a.m. and the Brighton Center is coming to life on a Monday at its main location in Northeast San Antonio.

It is one of Monica Watson’s favorite times of the day. Watson is the Lead Cook at Brighton. It’s a position she’s held for much of her 4 years at Brighton where she oversees the food preparation, menu planning, meal service and ordering for the nonprofit’s two locations. Watson says she serves 200 meals a day to children age 12 months up to 5 years old.

“Everyone is excited to be in the building for the start of the day, especially after we had to close our doors in 2020 for nearly two months because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Watson.

Brighton is the largest nonprofit in San Antonio providing direct services to children with disabilities and developmental delays. The full array of services offered by Brighton led to the establishment of a relationship with Richmond Advantage 10 years ago. During that decade, they have relied on our team for a wide variety of products, but during the pandemic, the partnership has intensified with Brighton recently ordering disposable dinnerware and cups, disposable cutlery, can liners, food wraps, bags, cotton rags, bleach, disposable gloves, and paper towels.

“Richmond Advantage takes pride in getting to know us and knowing the customer,” said Watson. “They really do care about us. We’re not just another number for them. They actually put a name to a face and know us.”

Breakfast. Lunch. Snack. Watson rolls out her food cart to the Brighton classrooms three times a day. Whether it be waffles, peaches and milk or biscuit, sausage and pears, or Chicken Alfredo with mixed vegetables, all the menu choices are individually wrapped and placed in disposable containers provided by Richmond Advantage to prevent the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of germs.

Watson says the children definitely have their favorites. They will tell me, “You’re the best cooker,” she recounted with a pleasant laugh.

Friendly Staff at Brighton Center

Reading with Mommie!

Mom & Daughter at Brighton Center

“We want the children to get a full serving of food according to USDA guidelines and the health and nutrition of these children are partly in my hands. I want to make sure they have full tummies,” Watson said assertively.

When the Brighton Center reopened in May of 2020 after the State of Texas ordered a shutdown of non-essential businesses, Watson says Richmond Advantage provided a critical service by sourcing cleaning supplies, spray bottles, hand sanitizer and sanitizing stations.

“Richmond Advantage gave us practically everything to help us do our best to stay away from COVID,” Watson recalled. “I appreciate them very much. Whatever we’ve needed, whenever we’ve needed it, they’ve had it!”

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