Healthcare personnel around the nation have gained a new respect for frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. But two foodservice managers at the University of Miami Health System have excelled in showing their appreciation. They secured and coordinated the delivery of free, fresh food for their associates, the latest in a series of special donations to help these associates.
System Director of Food Services, Anthony Addonisio discovered a food donation program available from the Produce Partners, a partnership of national fresh produce companies. Patient Services Manager, Marcela Lissandrelli contacted the organization and arranged for three separate deliveries of fresh fruit and produce to be delivered for all 365 Morrison and other hospital associates.
“With so many of our frontline associates working so hard during the pandemic, we wanted to show them how much we care about them,” Marcela said. “Many associates live with extended families, so providing them with fresh, healthy food was one way we could show our appreciation.”
Each box of food contained fresh strawberries, potatoes, onions, carrots, lettuce, tomatoes, pineapple, oranges and broccoli. Each item was wrapped in plastic to prevent contamination and the box, weighing approximately 12-15 pounds, can feed a family of four for up to a week.
For the initial delivery, food was provided to Morrison Healthcare associates, Crothall Healthcare environmental services (EVS) employees, and hospital personnel working in the receiving, security and transportation departments.
For the second delivery, these same associates received food boxes. When there were still some boxes left over, Executive Chef Gustavo Perez, Executive Sous Chef Santiago Lopez and Senior Patient Services Manager Vanessa Correa helped Marcela hand them out to other hospital staff members.
For the final delivery, food boxes were also provided to more than 200 workers at the health system’s Sylvester Cancer Center.
With each delivery, there was a message to “Our Valued First Responders” that mentioned how proud Freedom Fresh and its suppliers were proud of each and every hospital employee during the pandemic. Produce Partner’s website includes a list of those companies and more information about the food donation program.
“Our associates are working so hard to serve patients fighting COVID-19, so seeing how happy they were to receive this food filled our hearts with joy,” Marcela said.
The food donations are the latest in a string of contributions the two managers have organized. In early April, Addonisio and his team prepared and assembled 2,500 hot “to go” lunches and dinners for all of the hospital’s workers. Morrison teamed up with the Miami Marlins Home Plate Meals for Heroes, Coca-Cola and several other food vendors for this special event.
He has also worked closely on other donation programs with Aetna and Adidas, which donated shoes for each associate.
“When Produce Partners came back to us with their offer of healthy food, we were so pleased,” he said. “It’s just one more example of how companies in south Florida are helping our associates get through the pandemic.”