RIT Rallies: Dining donating hundreds of meals to front-line medical personnel

Autumn Geer

RIT Dining donated 100 meals to Unity Hospital on Monday. Donations are planned three times a week to Rochester Regional Health to support health care professionals.

RIT Dining is helping hundreds of health care professionals beginning this week by sending packaged meals to Rochester Regional Health, the university’s official affiliated clinical partner.

The connection is a consequence of a lessened need for meals on campus for students, faculty and staff, and a desire to help those who are valiantly trying to help our community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re trying to best utilize the food we already have on campus that was planned for events and the students’ return after spring break,” said Autumn Geer, chef de cuisine for RIT Catering,

Geer came up with the idea to donate after a period of self-quarantining at home.

“I thought, what can we do to help? We have stocked coolers and inventory in the freezer and the talent on campus,” she said. “I have a lot of friends in the health care field who are risking their lives every day. They don’t have a lot of food available to them when they need it and aren’t eating properly. They often don’t have time to pack a well-balanced meal. So we’re hoping to do some good, and to keep our staff engaged and inspired to know they are doing something good.”

Geer presented the idea to Kory Samuels, executive director of Dining Services, who garnered support from James Watters, senior vice president of Finance & Administration and Treasurer and Howard Ward, associate vice president of Auxiliary Services.

The culinary staff plans to prepare 100 meals each Monday, Wednesday and Friday for donation as long as their supplies allow.

“The RIT Dining culinary staff comes in, preps and cooks all the food and assembles the meals in microwavable containers,” she said.

Monday was the first delivery, with entrées including flank steak, mushrooms, roasted potatoes and broccoli, grilled chicken, sweet and sour chicken with rice, black bean burritos and salads. Fifty slices of cake from Gracie’s were also included.

Michele A. Grazulis, president of Rochester Regional Health Foundations, said she is incredibly grateful for the support from RIT.

“What this means to our front-line staff is immeasurable,” she said. “For some, it will be the meal they eat during work since our cafeterias are closed. For others, it will be the meal they take home after a long day of taking care of our community. It will provide comfort and nourishment and we are thankful to our partners at RIT for thinking of our employees in such a meaningful way during this time.”

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