Monarch Dining Keeping the Community Together

By Carly Herbert

Originally published September 18, 2020.


ODU’s Dining Hall Aramark staff are well-known for their friendly demeanor and the easy-going kind conversation they bring to all dining locations on campus but during the COVID-19 they demonstrated a whole new level of compassion!


Aramark workers remained on-campus at ODU when the pandemic sent home many of the university staff and faculty and all ODU students. This team of essential personnel worked to keep a select few dining locations open to ensure that those who were required to stay on campus had access to pick-up meals.


Over the course of quarantine, the University put together a program to ensure that its employees had meals throughout the week. Meals were able to be picked up between 1 pm and 4 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. These meal kits contained enough food to feed a family of four for at least two days. Not only that, but the meals were pre-cooked and came with instructions on how to reheat and prepare them!


However, it wasn’t just members of the Old Dominion Community that the Aramark workers were working hard to put food on the tables for. Norfolk First Responders and the staff of Sentara Norfolk General Hospital received sealed and individually portioned meals Monday thru Friday.

Additionally, meals were also distributed daily to the first responders working at Norfolk Fire Station #7, the station located on 43rd Street off Hampton Blvd.


One Aramark worker, Cecilie Collins, started sewing face masks the weekend after the Centers for Disease Control recommended them to be worn. What started as a small operation working out of her dining room, turned into a team of 70 Old Dominion faculty members and staff volunteering to create Monarch Mask Kits. Working from their homes, these employees received a kit with all the instructions and materials to make 5 masks.


Once their masks were completed, volunteers sent the masks back to campus to be distributed for students and staff.


During unprecedented times, it’s important for communities to come together, and that’s exactly what Old Dominion University did. The community is beyond grateful for the hard work and dedication of Aramark and all the other volunteers that contributed to the COVID relief efforts!


*This article was also published in ODU’s Auxiliary Business Services AFD Financial Newsletter in September of 2020*