“We are all in this together” – The College’s Partnership with the Lewiston Wellness Shelter

The Bates campus has been mostly closed since the COVID-19 pandemic hit with full force in late March, but that hasn’t stopped Bates DCCE (Dining, Conferences & Campus Events) from opening their hearts. In addition to providing daily meals for the small number of students who were unable to return home and are still living at Bates, the dining team has also been feeding the 65 residents and staff of the temporary wellness shelter at the Lewiston Armory, established so that those without homes could follow health safety protocols. While City staff and a local nonprofit organization have handled the creation and supervision of the shelter, including physically distanced beds, twice-daily temperature checks, and other safety measures, Bates DCCE has kept shelter residents well fed. 

Known for their considerable culinary talents, Bates Dining Services staff have assiduously observed procedures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Maine Hospitality Association while making two no-contact deliveries each day to the wellness shelter. The first delivery is a noontime bagged lunch and snack, featuring balsamic chicken and roast beef and cheddar wraps, as well as Bates’ signature Mt. David sandwich, to name just a few of the selections. The second delivery includes individual, freshly-made mixed green salads, a hot dinner cooked from scratch, and continental breakfast supplies for the next day. The population at the shelter includes several residents with dietary restrictions, either due to underlying medical conditions or specific (and sometimes multiple) food allergies, prompting Bates staff to carefully review the food they are providing and to separately menu and package meals to accommodate these needs.

As Cheryl Lacey, Director of Bates Dining Services notes, “At a time when we are providing meals to a very small group of students on campus, cooking for the residents of the wellness shelter has allowed our staff to redirect our efforts and feel that we are positively contributing to our local community. Having a sense of purpose in these chaotic, uncertain times helps us regain a sense of normalcy and is a reminder that we are all in this together.”