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Food service department turns COVID-19 restrictions into community outreach opportunity

By Maureen Nagg on 
Posted on April 13, 2021

Food service department turns COVID-19 restrictions into community outreach opportunity

How to support Mission Kitchen

Grab-and-go meals are currently only available to caregivers and patients and their designated visitors, but you can still support Mission Kitchen by purchasing a Mission Meal.

  1. Visit the Mission Kitchen website http://missionkitchenmenu.com/
  2. Click on “Donate a meal today”
  3. Click the meal option and choose donation amount

COVID-19 safety measures at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center required the cafeteria to limit seating and only allow access to employees. While the safety protocols were necessary, the impact was felt beyond the walls of the medical center. 


“Many of our neighbors frequently visit the hospital cafeteria because it’s a convenient, affordable option and one of the few places in the neighborhood that serves freshly cooked, home-style meals,” said Sr. Miriam Erb, CSA, Vice President of Mission and Ministry at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. “Restricting visitors to the hospital meant limiting access to warm meals and that was a very difficult decision to reckon with. It goes against how we see our role in the neighborhood, which is as a welcoming place.” 


Recognizing the growing demand among hospital caregivers for online ordering and take-out, the team saw an opportunity to support hospital staff and help those in need in the neighborhood. In February 2021, Mission Kitchen was launched, an online menu for hospital caregivers served as grab-and-go meals. Proceeds from online orders provide meals for families in the Central Neighborhood. In addition, caregivers can add a $10 Mission Meal to their order, which feeds a family of four in the community.  

“The response has been bigger than we anticipated. Our initial plan was to provide weekly meals for ten families of four. After three weeks of online orders we realized we could increase the number of families we are serving,” said Andy Cooper, Executive Chef at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center and co-founder of Mission Kitchen. “The generosity of the St. Vincent family continues to blow me away.” 

The Mission Kitchen team is partnering with Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, the Friendly Inn and Marion-Sterling Elementary School to distribute Mission Meals on a weekly basis. During the first month, more than 100 family-style meals were delivered throughout the community.


“This program embodies everything we try to achieve as healthcare food service professionals,” said Jay Williams, Director of Food and Nutrition Services at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. “Food gives caregivers a much-deserved break during their day, it provides patients with strength and healing, and for our neighbors it brings comfort and well-being. We couldn’t take these things away a time when people need them the most.” 


HOW TO SUPPORT MISSION KITCHEN 

Grab-and-go meals are currently only available to caregivers and patients and their designated visitors, but you can still support Mission Kitchen by purchasing a Mission Meal.

  1. Visit the Mission Kitchen website http://missionkitchenmenu.com/
  2. Click on “Donate a meal today”
  3. Click the meal option and choose donation amount

How to support Mission Kitchen

Grab-and-go meals are currently only available to caregivers and patients and their designated visitors, but you can still support Mission Kitchen by purchasing a Mission Meal.

  1. Visit the Mission Kitchen website http://missionkitchenmenu.com/
  2. Click on “Donate a meal today”
  3. Click the meal option and choose donation amount

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