LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 10, 2020) — Recently, the world has been in a state of upend. The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has impacted families all over the nation, and the Commonwealth is no exception. To help those in need, the chefs from University of Kentucky Dining Services have partnered with local organizations to prepare meals, proving that together, we are stronger. Their efforts have resulted in providing 200-300 meals a day to people in need over the last two weeks.
Through close connections with the community, specifically God’s Pantry, FoodChain and Great Bagel, donating food and manpower was a no-brainer, Pulkit Vigg, resident district manager for UK Dining, explained.
With sustainability as a fundamental part of UK Dining’s mission, community and environment often guide how they operate, focusing on practices that reduce waste and maximize efficient operations. With initiatives like Food Recovery, a student-run organization that recovers leftover food that was not in service, already in place, UK Dining has shown what is possible when community ties are strong.
“We stand by the Lexington community as this is where we live, work and play,” Vigg said. “Being the flagship program in Kentucky, it’s our responsibility as well to extend support where and when it’s needed.”
Partnering with The Nathaniel Mission, Lighthouse Ministries, Moveable Feast, The LEE Initiative in conjunction with Great Bagel, God’s Pantry, Fayette County Public Schools and FoodChain, the partnerships not only allow the university to continue to foster active citizenship among campus members through service, but also gives university employees an opportunity to continue working while campus is closed.
Businesses across Kentucky have been impacted by the statewide ordinances issued by Gov. Andy Beshear, leaving many Central Kentucky families without income. Lexington food banks have felt the impact, seeing an increase in need for food assistance.
Feeding thousands of community members daily, the organizations the university has partnered with are in need now more than ever, with many food distribution organizations seeing an estimated 35% increase in need for those who are food insecure.
UK Dining plans to continue donating nutritious family style meals as long as they have the donated food and labor resources available.
Since the partnerships have begun, UK Dining employees have been able to prepare hundreds of meals a day. Although times of uncertainty can be scary, UK’s willingness to step up and step in when needed illustrates that when forces and resources are combined, the impact is powerful.
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.