UofM & Chartwells partner to package as many as 10,000 meals a day for Shelby County students during crisis

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April 9, 2020 - The University of Memphis and Chartwells have partnered to package as many as 10,000 meals in a single day for Shelby County students during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

 Chartwells is the dining services partner for the UofM. The University Center dining hall is being used to make and compile the meals before distribution.

 The initiative started with a March 24 call from Brian McLaughlin, chief operating officer of YMCA Memphis, which is funding the project and distributing the meals. 

 “We received a call asking if we could produce 4,000 meals for pickup at 6 a.m. the next morning,” said Glendel Coble, resident district manager for Chartwells. “We picked the food up from our provider at 4:30 p.m. and began immediately. We packed the last box lunches at 2:30 a.m. on March 25. Although it was a very long day of work, the team was excited to help our community. In these trying times, to be able to give back and be a part of helping others is a wonderful thing.”

The Chartwells team of 25 associates is averaging 8,000 meals per day, and has produced as many as 10,000. Production time varies based on volume, but it takes about 9.5 hours to package 10,000 meals. The boxes include ham and cheese or turkey and cheese sandwiches with juice, fruit and chips. Breakfast meals may be added in the near future.

 “We are proud, grateful and excited to assist our community and to serve those in need,” Coble said. “Chartwells and the University of Memphis have a great working partnership. To represent two top-level organizations, helping those in need, is one of the proudest moments in my career.”

 “I am so proud of our association with Chartwells,” said UofM President M. David Rudd. “They stepped up in a moment’s notice and have done a remarkable job serving not only our students, but the families of Shelby County during this challenging time.”

 “The Memphis community is strong,” said Shelby County Schools Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray. “We are extremely grateful for our partners at the University of Memphis and Chartwells who have come together to help feed Shelby County Schools students. Our goal to eliminate hunger for children during this unprecedented crisis has been met with a tremendous response which is affirmation that WE ARE 901.”

 During the crisis, Chartwells is continuing to serve UofM students, faculty and staff seven days a week. 

 “We know that many students need to remain on campus to complete their online courses,” Coble said. “Many would have nowhere else to go. We are thankful we can be here to feed them and provide nutritional meals daily.

 “This is the most challenging time we have faced as a country. The positive attitude of the team and willingness to continue to serve our community is very rewarding.”