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:
- University of Chicago to prepare meals for the community
The University of Chicago (UC) has announced the first stage of an effort to provide emergency support and address some of the immediate needs of local residents, businesses and community-based nonprofits on the South Side as they navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, scheduled to launch on March 30, involves three main programs: preparing and delivering meals to South Side residents, supporting South Side businesses and their employees, and supporting South Side nonprofit organizations and the vulnerable populations they serve.
UC will use on-campus dining facilities to prepare meals that will be distributed in partnership with the Greater Chicago Food Depository to various locations within the university’s nine-community footprint on the South Side, with at least 3,000 breakfasts, lunches and dinners to be provided seven days a week through June 12 (a minimum of 225,000 total meals), following strict public health and safety protocols regarding social distancing and sanitation.
- District distributes week’s worth of meals at once to reduce infection risk
After seeing its meal distribution program halted because of the stay-at-home order by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards that has led all but a few school districts in northwest Louisiana to halt student grab-and-go meals because of health risks to school staff, Caddo Parish has set up a new program to get meals to children beginning March 30 that limits contacts and the risk of infection. Instead of daily distribution, staffers will prepare eight meals for children for the week that youngsters can pick up at one time on Mondays each week. These sack lunches will include five breakfasts and 3 lunches.
Read more: Caddio Will Begin Meal Service on Monday
- Grocer’s cafeteria staff to prepare sack lunches for the homeless
Schnuck Markets Inc. is not only donating $500,000 to the St. Louis COVID-19 Regional Response Fund to support those in the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area who are experiencing hardship due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, but it will also donate hundreds of sack lunches to St. Vincent de Paul Parish, which is one of many organizations that serves the St. Louis area’s homeless population. Schnucks’ corporate cafeteria staff will prepare these portable meals starting March 30.
- Salvation Army drive-thru feeds hospital workers leaving shift
The Salvation Army set up a drive-thru distributing bagged lunches during a recent shift change at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's Hospital in Milwaukee as a way to say thank you to the healthcare staffers working the front lines during the coronavirus epidemic.
"We have lunches prepared on the table, so as workers leave the parking structure, they can just drive up, receive a meal and be on the way home to their loved ones," said Major Steven Merritt, Major for the Salvation Army, Divisional Commander for Wisconsin Upper Michigan Division.
"It seems like a simple gesture, a free meal, but after a 12-hour shift of working hard and doing your best to protect those you're working with as well as yourself, I think it's a huge gesture," said Kelly Elkins, President Ascension Columbia St. Mary's.
The Salvation Army says it will do this meal giveaway again if it sees a need.
- Couple donates cancelled wedding reception food to hospital workers
A couple in Tulsa whose wedding party was canceled amid the coronavirus outbreak donated the reception food to feed 400 hospital workers. Fiona and Adam Gordon were wed March 21 in a small ceremony with two witnesses, but the large reception they had planned for 120 guests was canceled, though not until the caterer had already purchased the food, so the couple agreed to donate it. A charity group, Hull4Heroes, helped serve the food over the weekend to grateful health care staff.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]