When the University of Montevallo campus was forced to move to a distance education model because of the COVID-19 pandemic this spring, UM dining services created a positive outcome from a difficult situation.
With students and faculty off campus, Jason Quarles, director of dining services for Falcon Foods/Chartwells, found himself with a surplus of food items originally intended to be served in UM dining facilities.
After freezing what he could, Quarles and his staff began looking for ways to help the community by not allowing perishable items such as produce to go to waste.
They found their answer a few blocks from campus at Shelby Emergency Assistance, which works to provide basic needs for people in crisis, helping them achieve self-sufficiency and empowering them to make positive contributions to their community.
In early April, Quarles donated a shipment of vegetables, fruits and other types of produce to SEA to help local residents facing crises.
“Our food pantry is stocked with canned goods, boxed meals and frozen items, so we were excited to have fresh produce to give to our clients,” said SEA Director Karen Pendleton. “There were cases of potatoes, huge sweet potatoes, beautiful purple onions, honeydew melons and tomatoes. Our clients have been so glad to have the vegetables and to be able to prepare some fresh homemade dishes for their families. Our thanks to UM’s Dining Services and Jason for keeping SEA’s clients in mind.”
With the connection now established between Falcon Foods and SEA, Quarles said he plans to make regular donations to the organization.
“With SEA being so close to campus, I plan to try and send them something as often as I can throughout the year,” Quarles said.