As Cabrini closed its campus to all students, faculty, staff and visitors on March 14, following a state mandate to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, the school also took action to ensure its on-campus stock of fresh food items and cleaning supplies was put to good use in the community.
Cabrini’s dining services partner, Sodexo, made a large donation of perishables, such as dairy and produce as well as surface sanitation supplies, to Fellowship Community, a nursing facility serving senior citizens in Whitehall, PA.
“A Cabrini education is an Education of the Heart,” said Tracy Eells, Cabrini’s Sodexo General Manager. “When the University was forced to close the campus as a precautionary measure, we were eager to help vulnerable people and organizations in the area.”
For Fellowship Community, which also partners with Sodexo for its food services, the donation came at an ideal time.
“It’s been difficult for our residents as movement within the community and visitors have been restricted,” said Darryl Gruber, the Sodexo General Manager at Fellowship Community. “We’re doing our best to care for them and make them feel at home, and in the process, we’re learning that there are a lot of positives still to be found in the community around us.”
Fellowship Community was most in need of additional cleaning and sanitation supplies, although Gruber said the shipment of milk, vegetables, and other foods was a welcome addition to the pantry. Gruber had reached out to a number of local schools that had closed their campuses for assistance. Lehigh University and nearby Eastern University joined Cabrini in donating to Fellowship Community.
Both Gruber and Eells noted that a considerable amount of perishable food donations also went to dining services employees at Cabrini and elsewhere who can no longer work regularly due to social-distancing mandates.
“This unprecedented situation is evolving every day,” Gruber added. “But as new things come up, we’re staying in touch and we’re learning from one another.”