LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 25, 2021) — During the pandemic, an army of volunteers has made it possible for the University of Kentucky and UK HealthCare to provide COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to the public. To honor those faculty, staff and students who have stepped up for the greater good of the community, UK Dining hosted a thank you lunch yesterday at the Woodford Reserve Club at Kroger Field, providing complimentary meals to the volunteers.
“This is a token of appreciation from our team for the tireless and important work done by the volunteers and health care workers during this unprecedented epidemic,” said Resident District Manager Pulkit Vigg with UK Dining and it’s dining partner Aramark. “We especially want to thank the selfless effort put forward and the positive impact that it’s had on our communities.”
In January, the university pledged to do more and be more for the people of the state when it opened the COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Kroger Field. Now, thanks to the heroes there, UK is able to vaccinate more than 4,000 people each day.
UK President Eli Capilouto visited volunteers during the lunch yesterday, inquiring about their work and thanking them for their service. In the video above, Capilouto offers his gratitude for all the volunteers who are working to protect Kentuckians from COVID-19.
On any given day, approximately 120 staff members and volunteers go to work at Kroger Field — serving in roles from testers to immunizers to wayfinders.
“Kroger Field is at the center of Kentucky’s battle against COVID-19 — we’re putting more shots into more arms than any other clinic in the state,” Lance Poston, assistant vice president for student success, said. “Without a doubt, what truly holds the clinic together and propels it forward is our outstanding volunteers.”
UK Dining’s thank you lunch consisted of an extensive spread of Kentucky Proud products, including filet mignon, ribeye steaks, lamb chops, baked chicken, grilled vegetables, roasted potatoes, salad, dessert and drinks.
Celine Hummer, a first-year pharmacy student at UK and in the Pharmacy Intern Program at UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital, has volunteered six times giving shots at the vaccination clinic. She said volunteering has been one of her greatest experiences, and she was surprised yesterday by the delicious thank you lunch.
“I literally sent pictures of my lunch to all my friends,” Hummer said.
Kathryn Ellis, an employee from the Kentucky Geological Survey, has volunteered in clinic registration on Tuesdays and Saturdays since mid-February.
“I don’t usually work Wednesdays, but I am so grateful to be here today,” she said about attending the lunch.
Taking a pause from the current health crisis to shine a light on its volunteers, UK Dining hopes this small token of gratitude will nourish their stomachs and also their hearts to continue raising the bar higher for what is possible when UK comes together for the greater good of the community.
“We would love to extend our gratitude for the selfless efforts put forward in the time of unprecedented need and hope that our guests leave with their bellies full and a smile on their face,” Vigg said. “It is important for our team that these volunteers and staff feel energized and continue to do the great work in Kentucky and around the world.”
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.