Lending A Helping Hand

Cafe offers grocery and food items.
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The Punxsutawney Area Hospital Food Service Manager, Ron Burkhardt, has been lending an extra helping hand to fellow coworkers. Since the beginning of April, the cafeteria has been offering a limited selection of grocery and food items for hospital employees to purchase.  With grocery stores adjusting their hours due to the changing business flow, Burkhardt said, “It may be difficult for some staff members to find an open store before or after their shift.” 

Evaluating what items are the most frequent needed, or what people seem to go to a store to purchase singularly, Burkhardt and his teams established a list of popular items. Some of the items that are being offered for purchase include bread, milk, pasta, toilet paper, paper towels, and eggs.  Having a mini store in the cafeteria provides an opportunity for social distancing of the employees as well as limiting exposure to them. This mini store helps to decrease the amount of times hospital employees go into a public area for only one or two grocery items.

When asked where the idea came from, Burkhardt states, “Similar things had been tried by other hospitals, with Indiana Regional Medical Center rolling out a similar program about one week prior to us.  I looked at what others were doing and tried to borrow ideas from several other operations to come up with our particular selection.  I brought the idea to the attention of my Senior Manager, and the administration gave me the green light.”

In the hospitals current operating mode, some employees find themselves doing things outside of their usual job descriptions. With this being outside what is normally asked of the food service department, their efforts do not go unnoticed. There is a great appreciation for creating this option.