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

The connection stems from a lessened need for meals on campus for students, faculty and staff, and a desire to help those trying to help the 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 and 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 as long as supplies allow.

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

The first delivery consisted of flank steak, mushrooms, roasted potatoes and broccoli, grilled chicken, sweet and sour chicken with rice, black bean burritos, salads, and 50 slices of cake from Gracie’s.

“What this means to our front-line staff is immeasurable,” said Michele Grazulis, president of Rochester Regional Health Foundations. “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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