BYU-Idaho’s Dean of Students Office devised a plan in the Spring Semester 2020, to deliver meals to students with COVID-19. The Student Support Services, with help from the Catering Services, started delivering these meals this semester on Sept. 18. They started delivering meals because they wanted to help students with COVID-19.
The Dean of Students Office is paying for the meals through the university and will do their best to make sure they stay free for students. The only reason the meals might not be free in the future would be if they start running a budget. Right now, there is no potential of them not being free in the future. The only reason for the meals not being free would be if they start running a budget.
Cristopher Tena-Vargas, a senior studying social work, is the coordinator for Student Support Services. He organizes the deliver of meals to students.
A lot of preparation goes into delivering these meals and keeping volunteers safe. Tena-Vargas makes sure the volunteers stay safe by organizing the deliveries. He ensures that gloves and hand sanitizer are in every car.
“The day before, at 2 p.m., I get a list of all the people that have requested meals that day, and I go through the list,” Tena-Vargas said. “I group them up, all 250, into apartment complexes. Once I have those apartment complexes I have to make sure I have the right amount of people on there and then I split them into different routes.”
Each car that takes food deliveries to the apartment complex has one driver and two volunteers. The Student Support Services gets about 15 volunteers every week day. They get the volunteers from the Peer Success Mentors, Hebrew J. Grant Mentors, Student Support volunteers and if they need to have more volunteers they will reach out to students and anybody who might be interested. They take the meals to the door, knock and leave.
“The Catering Services does a really good job too because there is a lot of allergies that we get,” Tena-Vargas said. “We probably get about 50 allergies.”
The Catering Services makes sure there are gluten and lactose free meals for those who need it.
“We will do variations of the planned meal or a completely separate item depending on the item or the allergy,” said Todd Huchendorf, the Food Services Director. “We label and package each separately.”
Huchendorf does his best to make sure that the meals are prepped and cooked to the right standards.
“The meals that are hot have to be properly cooled down to be reheated at (the) student’s convenience later that day,” Huchendorf said.
According to the BYU-Idaho University Catering Facebook page, they need at least three business days notice for any orders, so that they can make sure they have what you need.
To sign up to receive meals, visit this site.