MCH food service director has cooked in many contexts

Has also been a professional musician
Aug 10, 2017
Ernie Bullard, food service director for MCH Inc., has cooked in the Army, done backstage catering for top-name bands and played music professionally himself.

Rockland — Ernie Bullard, food services director for MCH Inc., works with his team to prepare 110 to 120 meals, Monday through Friday, for delivery to Meals on Wheels recipients in Knox County. He rises at 3 a.m. every day to meet Will Gardiner and Lucy Stackpole at the MCH kitchen in Rockland at 5 a.m. Bullard and Gardiner prepare meals and Stackpole packs the meals in special containers for delivery. The meals are packaged, then delivered by a rotating group of 45 volunteers to recipients in every corner of Knox County. Drivers begin picking up meals at 8:30 in the morning.

In addition to daily Meals on Wheels meals, Bullard and Gardiner prepare a lunch meal for the congregate meals site at the Methodist Conference Home on Summer Street in Rockland five days a week. Bullard also supervises three servers; Kathleen Blanco, Janessa Milliken and Gail Yamello; and another kitchen at the Rankin Center staffed by Sara Barbour.

Not many of the elderly and disabled Meals on Wheels recipients who enjoy Bullard's daily cooking know his involvement with Meals on Wheels stretches back to his childhood in the Swissvale neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Along with many others in their neighborhood, Bullard’s mom, Roberta, was a volunteer Meals on Wheels delivery driver. In middle school, he helped his mom in the summertime, running meals from her car to the houses and apartments.

Bullard graduated from Swissvale High School in June 1985, and in August that year enlisted in the Army. He did his basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., joined the Third Infantry Division, of Audie Murphy fame, and was stationed at Army Garrison Schweinfurt in Germany. He was an M-1 tank driver and regularly volunteered for kitchen patrol, which provided him with the best food, best treatment and an opportunity to hone his kitchen skills. He was honorably discharged in 1988. Returning home to Pittsburgh,Bullard worked as produce manager at East End Food Co-op. In addition, while at East End, he helped get a popular vegan-natural cuisine café off the ground.

One of his abiding passions since high school has been playing and composing music. In 1991, along with the band Tiny Little Help! he moved to Albuquerque, N.M., where they played music full-time. In 1995, the band returned to Pittsburgh, made two records, played regular gigs, started a record label, Rickety Records, hosted events and introduced new bands in the community.

At the same time, he was working day jobs in food service at the local hospital, managing a video store, working shifts in a coffee shop and cooking at a bed-and-breakfast. He met Sara Martin, his future wife, at the coffee shop and in 2001 he moved to Philadelphia to be closer to her. They married in 2003.

In 2014 Bullard and his wife decided to slow down, pursue a country life and make a big move to Washington, Maine. Sara is a dental hygienist at a practice in Rockport. Ernie began working for MCH Inc. in 2015. At home they enjoy the good life on their farm with their three hens, a rooster and Red Wattle pig. Ernie still enjoys playing guitar in his spare time.

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