More than 800 days may have passed since April 2020, but a partnership between Stony Brook Village and Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) to deliver meals to hospital employees remains strong.
As of June 2022, the Stony Brook Village and Stony Brook University Hospital Meal Train Program has provided more than 17,500 meals, snacks and refreshments to hospital employees, according to the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO). The WMHO spearheaded the program’s organization with assistance from Stony Brook’s University & Hospital Community Relations Office and staff from SBUH’s Windows Catering.
“It’s like family,” said Gloria Rocchio, president of the WMHO. “The healthcare workers were busy taking care of the community. We fulfilled a need. That’s what you do for family. We will never know what they went through, but we wanted them to know the community cared.”
The meal train provided much-needed relief for SBUH employees during the peaks of the COVID-19 pandemic, while also directly supporting local businesses in Stony Brook Village. Both were especially important as the hospital’s essential employees worked tirelessly around the clock and food establishments struggled to stay afloat.
Funding from residents helped the WMHO secure meal and refreshment donations from Brew Cheese, Crazy Beans, Grist Mill Eatery, Mirabelle Restaurant and Tavern at the Three Village Inn, Premiere Pastry, Stony Brook Chocolate, Sweet Mama’s and Village Coffee Market. Most recently in May and June 2022, Grist Mill Eatery provided lunch for Laboratory, Pharmacy, Concierge, Respiratory and the hospital’s COVID-19 unit.
According to the WMHO, the Laboratory Department was the biggest department to receive a donation, with 245 people.
“It was a whole team effort,” Rocchio said. “The residents and corporations donated. Some donations were very small, others much larger. The food establishments getting food to them where and when it was needed. All working for one cause, and we’ll be there again if they need us.”
— Erika Karp