Brandeis preparing meals for healthcare workers at local hospitals

a chef filling plastic salad bowlsPhoto/Julie Jette

Meals for doctors, nurses and administrative staff at five Boston-area hospitals are being prepared in Brandeis University kitchens. It is the first time Sodexo, the university’s meal provider, has used a university’s facilities to prepare food for essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moreover, Brandeis kitchens are prepared to double their delivery capacity during the coronavirus pandemic. Sodexo runs the kitchens and has hired additional staff —  including some students who are still on campus — to prepare meals for hospital workers.

Last week, Brandeis kitchens prepared and sent 2,200 meals to Cambridge Hospital, Carney Hospital, Children’s Hospital Boston, New England Baptist Hospital and Lahey Health Center.

crates of food being delivered to hospitals
Photo/Emily Baksa

Brandeis kitchens are producing food items for five Boston area hospitals

“Not only does this help support our healthcare workers who are working hard and need convenient, fresh food options, but it also supports our employee base even though the Brandeis campus has condensed operations because of the pandemic,” said Sodexo marketing specialist Emily Baksa. “We’ve been able to service two groups in really key ways.”

Sodexo, which serves government and corporate services, other universities and senior living centers, is also using Brandeis kitchens as a model to replicate similar support services across the country.

The Brandeis staff has been split into two teams so the operation doesn’t have to shut down in case someone tests positive for COVID-19.

“Our operation is the first, so our work here is sort of groundbreaking at a time when we can do the most good,” Brandeis Dining general manager Andy Allen said.

The meals range in type and size and feature seven different salads, eight varieties of sandwiches, and snacks like pudding, fruit cups and yogurt parfaits. Sodexo delivers the meals Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and changes the menu every other week.

Allen, who believes Brandeis could be asked to send meals to 11 more facilities in the coming weeks, said the leaders of the five hospitals already being served are grateful for the assistance.

“The response has been an overwhelming thank you,” Allen said. “They’re grateful that we’ve been able to take something off their plate and have been here to help.”

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