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grab-and-go program-in-NYC-schools. jpg John Moore / Staff / Getty Images News
The fate of the popular public school-based grab-and-go free meal program remains uncertain, leaving food-insecure New Yorkers potentially forced to seek alternatives.

5 coronavirus things: Fate of grab-and-go program in NYC schools uncertain

This and Sonoma State suspending campus dining this fall are some of the stories you may have missed recently regarding the COVID-19 crisis.

In this special edition of 5 Things, Food Management highlights five things you may have missed recently about developments regarding coronavirus and its impact on onsite dining.

Here’s your list for today:

  1. Sonoma State shuts down campus meal service for the fall

This semester, Sonoma State University (SSU) will not be offering meal plans for any students, nor will any of the campus dining venues be open. This decision also has widespread implications for those who are employed full time by the culinary department, as well as students who are employed during the school year.

Director of Culinary Services Nancy Keller claims the loss of revenue has been “devastating.” She explains that “[they] have reduced expenses in every possible area and have retained employees as long as possible...staff and management employees were notified they may be laid off by July 31st.” In an attempt to offset these layoffs, culinary employees are being moved to other departments to work there when possible.

Read more: Sonoma State cuts culinary services during the pandemic

  1. Fate of grab-and-go program in NYC schools is uncertain

With in-person classes set to start in a little over two weeks in New York City schools, the fate of the popular public school-based grab-and-go free meal program remains uncertain, leaving food-insecure New Yorkers potentially forced to seek alternatives.

Staffers at shuttered schools had distributed 47 million meals at about 400 locations as between late March and Friday, said Joshua Goodman, a spokesperson for the Sanitation Department, whose commissioner, Kathryn Garcia, is overseeing the city’s food response during the pandemic.

Some schools will likely continue to offer food to the public when classes begin on Sept. 10, but those locations are still being worked out, according to Nick Freudenberg, director of the CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute, who has been briefed by city officials.

Read more: Fate of Grab-and-Go Meals Dished Out at Schools Unclear as Return of Classes Nears

  1. Hospital turns onsite fast food space into fresh food market

In a bold move, Atlanta’s Grady Hospital, a leading trauma hospital in the Southeast, has transformed an on-site fast food restaurant that closed in 2016 into a fresh market offering fruit, produce and pre-packaged meals to-go.

Two Atlanta non-profits, The Atlanta Community Food Bank and Open Hand are helping to coordinate the effort and encourage Grady's 7,000 staff members, visitors and patients alike to eat healthily. The Market is also offering free nutritional counseling and cooking classes to patients in need of nutritional guidance.

Read more: Grady Hospital's new Jesse Hill Market spotlights nutrition

  1. Appalachian State adds food trucks to enhance campus dining

Students will have an unexpected obstacle in their way as they walk across Sanford Mall at Appalachian State university this semester: four large trucks. However, the parking location is no accident. Campus Dining has partnered with four local food trucks to give students and staff alternative dining options. Betty’s Biscuits, Village Inn Pizza, Higher Grounds Coffee and the Cardinal Burger Wagon will now be parked on Sanford Mall on weekdays during peak meal hours.

Read more: A meal on wheels: Campus Dining introduces new dining options

  1. Hospital dispenses prescriptions for groceries to food-insecure patients

Allegheny Health Network in Pittsburgh is using prescriptions for food to improve the health of people in the community. Across from the West Penn Hospital in a freezer, people go to receive a box of food that can feed a family of four for one week.

The Healthy Food Center is the one-stop-shop that helps people get their health on track. West Penn Hospital screens patients at doctor’s appointments for food insecurity, giving them a prescription to come to the center.

Read more: Allegheny Health Network Healthy Food Center Addresses Food Insecurity

Bonus: One On One With: Tulane Dining’s Eat Local partnership bolsters NOLA restaurants

Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]

TAGS: Coronavirus
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