Snapshots: Here are just a few of the many dining team members who worked tirelessly during Harvey
By The Auxiliary Services Team
Hurricane Harvey provided enormous challenges for the University of Houston's dining team.
How do you keep a massive food operations program up and running and serving hundreds if not thousands of students during a major hurricane, when streets were flooding and deliveries were close to impossible?
Where there's a will, there's a way.
The dining team not only did their job, they did an incredible job. From front-line workers to management, they came together and made the best of a very tough situation - all while having to worry about their own families and homes.
More than 40 volunteered to ride out Harvey and work the storm from start to finish, never leaving campus the entire time. That included working long hours – very long hours, in some cases – to ensure students who remained on campus during the hurricane were fed. They helped maintain as much a normal atmosphere and setting as possible during one of the biggest natural catastrophes to ever strike the Greater Houston area.
Here are snapshots of some of the employees who worked during Harvey. They are just a small fraction of the great dining team that came together as one. There are way too many to highlight them all.
We want the UH community to understand the scope and enormity of the work and effort that took place during Harvey from the dining perspective, and these few snapshots, we hope, do just that.
Let's start with the stores
Dining Services kept several campus convenience stores open and stocked with necessary food and supplies every day during the storm. One of these was the University Lofts Market.
A large chunk of students who live in University Lofts remained on campus when Harvey struck. Each day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the store on the ground floor of the building stayed open. Cedric Lewis was there the whole time. Bread, milk and sandwiches were scooped up by students, yet the shelves managed to stay relatively stocked, considering the situation at hand.
Cedric didn’t go home that week, but was provided a place to live and sleep in University Lofts when he was not working.
On the other side of campus, Samantha Hughes was working the Cougar Woods Market each day during Harvey. She is a student here at UH who lives at Cougar Place. Working allowed her to keep busy and pass the time. Otherwise, she’d be holed up in her room. Working helped keep her mind off things.
The Cougar Village Market also remained open to serve all the first-year students living in Cougar Village I and II who were not able to return home to ride out the storm.
Both dining commons remained open
Moody Towers and Cougar Woods dining commons were open and serving students each day during Harvey, thanks to those hard-working employees who stayed on campus. For several days during and after the storm, staff and students were not charged for meals in both locations.
The menu was limited, as to be expected in such a situation, yet the staff managed to keep service levels at the same levels one would expect during normal times.
MaryAnn Arvie of Pearland was one of the employees who helped make that happen. She worked each day at Moody Towers Dining Commons, keeping a smile on her face at all times while ensuring students had hot, fresh pizza to enjoy.
Laura Hopkins from the South Park area was another. When a photo of her was posted on the @UHFoodie Facebook page, showing her standing next to the dessert station filled with fresh goodies with a smile on her face, students and staff were quick to posted positive comments and words of thanks. “Thank you Mrs. Hopkins! Staff who stayed through the storm all over campus should be recognized and thanked,” wrote one person. Another said, “ Kudos to Mrs. Hopkins despite all that has happened. Coogs rock!!”
Social media response was overwhelming
During Harvey, the Dining team made great use of its @UHFoodie social media accounts to pass along the latest information and help keep residents updated on where things stood. The response was overwhelmingly positive.
When a photo of Chef Erick Meland standing next to seven pallets of food at Moody Towers Dining Commons was posted to Facebook on Aug. 28 during the height of Harvey's torrential downpours, one person quickly responded: "Thank you Mr. Meland. We appreciate you!"
Here is a sampling of the many other comments people posted about the dining team:"Thank you to all the folks who have been working hard to feed and care for our kids."
"Thanks for taking care of our kiddos!"
"My student doesn't live on campus but as a mom it's great to see the school takes care of the kids when they can't be with their families. Thank you!"
"Thank you so much for your hard work and commitment to our Coogs. As a parent, I am so thankful the kids have a safe place and are able to get something to eat."
"Love my school. Thankful for those who stayed behind on campus to serve our students!"
"Thanks for all you're doing to help our students. May God bless each of you and your families for caring!"
"Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! My son is there still in the dorm and we are so grateful!"
"Makes me feel better knowing UH is taking care of my kiddo and all the others. Thank you!"
"I can't say thank you enough. You all are very much appreciated."
posted: Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017