Hospital’s food service staff step up for hungry co-workers

BLUE HILL — A trip to the grocery store can be stressful right now. The masks, new behavioral rules and contagion anxiety can be tough to manage.

With that in mind, the nutritional services team at Northern Light Blue Hill Hospital has made some changes during the COVID-19 response to help prevent co-workers from having to stress about food after their long shifts.

Normally, the cafeteria is open for breakfast and lunch. That means no access to food for staff around the dinner hour and into the night. To combat the problem, the cafeteria staff has procured a cooler that is available 24/7 and stocked with healthy grab-and-go foods such as sandwiches, salads, soups and snacks.

“We decided as long as we were preparing the food already, we might as well make some extra for our coworkers to grab and take home,” says Barb Haskell, nutritional services manager.

And as an added help to those tired co-workers, the food services team is offering some key grocery staples for purchase 24/7, to prevent the need for stops at the store on the way home. Staff can pick up bread and half gallons of milk to take home. “It’s not just staff being tired after long shifts,” adds Haskell. “I’ve had calls from staff who are at higher risk of serious illness because of underlying health conditions saying they are grateful to be able to access food when they need it in a more controlled environment.”

And thanks to the thoughtful creativity of Dede Sylvester, the lead cook, the team went a step further at Easter. They brought in packages of white eggs for staff to buy and take home to color with their children. It was one less thing staff needed to worry about during those busy days around the holiday.

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