Each Friday Food Management compiles a list that highlights five things you probably missed in the onsite foodservice news that week and why you should care about them.
Here’s your list for the week of June 8:
- Judge orders Puerto Rico school cafeterias to reopen
A judge has given Puerto Rico’s education secretary 24 hours to open all public school cafeterias in the U.S. territory or face arrest as impoverished students struggle to obtain free meals amid the pandemic. The ruling is the latest development in a lawsuit that several mothers and nonprofit organizations had filed in late April to demand the reopening of cafeterias that serve 292,000 students, of whom nearly 70% are poor, and had remained closed for some two months amid the pandemic.
Education Secretary Eligio Hernández, who tweeted that the department is complying with court orders and that it would submit documents to prove it, had initially insisted he would not reopen any cafeterias because it was too risky, noting in part that 64% of workers are elderly. The department instead offloaded its food to nonprofit organizations and a food bank, but it quickly ran out, and activists said it was not reaching those most in need. In recent weeks, the department was forced to close some cafeterias it had re-opened after some workers tested positive for COVID-19.
- Maines Paper files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy
Maines Paper & Food Services, a major foodservice distributor based in Conklin, N.Y., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. According to court documents, the company says it is in the best interest of creditors, employees, stockholders and other stakeholders.
- Notre Dame Dining to provide dining services for Saint Mary’s College
Saint Mary’s College President Katie Conboy has announced that the University of Notre Dame’s Campus Dining team would be the new dining provider for Saint Mary’s in an email to the student body. With this change in dining hall provider, all Saint Mary’s students will have access to all dining facilities across the tri-campus community.
“This ensures that all on-campus students have access to meals—and the social activities that are meal-dependent—regardless of which campus they call home and without added cost,” Conboy said.
- With cafeteria shut down, med center depended on outside meal donations
As the height of the coronavirus pandemic swept New Jersey, Hackensack University Medical Center (HUMC) had to get creative to handle the influx of patients it treated, many of them critically ill and needing intensive care. That included adding beds wherever it could—including its cafeteria
"Because we had so many patients, we wanted to make sure that we could continue to decompress our emergency department," HUMC President Mark Sparta said. "We actually closed the cafeteria down and in a matter of six days, built out eight different pods totaling 74 beds for additional patient care space.".
With the cafeteria closed, programs like Madison Square Garden's Home Team Heroes initiative stepped in to provide meals and Sparta says the outpouring of support for health care workers has been inspiring.
"I can tell you that—whether it be all of the meal donations that we received; the number of drive-thru parades with lights and sirens that different municipalities and other first responders provided for our team members; the signs that they delivered, a lot of times they put yard signs up or they would put signs at the end of our hospital driveway thanking health care heroes—it kind of gave them that inspiration and drive to continue on and come back every day. They were dealing with things and conditions that they hadn't seen in the course of their career, and it's physically and emotionally draining for them.”
- Hillsborough County Schools to provide 10 weekly meals to kids through July
Once students were sent home for virtual learning back in March, Hillsborough County in Florida kicked off its Grab-and-Go meal service to make sure their students didn’t go hungry. Now that summer is here, they’re doing the same thing again.
School officials are calling it their "Summer Food Fuel Up," and it’s going to be a Grab-and-Go meal service very similar to the one they implemented over the past few months. Any child 18 years old or younger—or 21 or younger if they have a special need—will be able to get ten nutritious meals every week through the meal service as the district is offering both breakfast and lunch to students who need it.
The students don’t have to be present in order to pick up the meal. Parents will just need to bring either their student's ID for children who are enrolled in the school district. If they’re not enrolled, the child's date of birth is required.
The service started June 8 and will last until the end of July.
Contact Mike Buzalka at [email protected]