Some Pomona dining hall staff will return to work part time for community meal program

Trees, shrubs, and grass surround a dorm on Pomona College's campus.
Select furloughed dining hall staff at Pomona College will return to work part time to provide meals to homebound senior citizens (Chris Nardi • The Student Life)

Some furloughed Pomona College dining hall staff members will be returning to work part time to provide meals to homebound senior citizens, according to a Monday email from Treasurer Robert Goldberg.

The program will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner to 180 senior citizens who are homebound and cannot regularly purchase food in Pomona, San Dimas and Chino.

The effort is a partnership between the dining hall workers’ union, UNITE HERE Local 11, and the Hospitality Training Academy, which trains low-income and underserved populations for employment in the hospitality and food service industries.

The email did not specify how many employees of the 264 workers Pomona furloughed in early October will be returning. 

Returning staff will be “paid their regular wages” and return to campus this week for training and part-time work through Dec. 31, according to the email.

The dining staff will cook and package meals which will be picked up twice weekly for delivery to the seniors’ homes, the email said. 

Returning dining staff will be regularly tested for COVID-19, follow strict safety guidelines and work in a “tightly controlled bubble” of two teams to minimize transmission to meal recipients and other staff. 

Staff have already begun testing for COVID-19 through partnership with Hamilton Health Box, a workplace healthcare company that brings “convenient and accessible primary care” directly to worksites, according to the company’s website.

The college is also working with HHB to “develop a broader plan to regularly test staff who are required to work on campus for COVID-19.” The details of the testing strategy will be released in the coming days, according to the email.

The partnership between the union and the HTA was brought about by Assistant Vice President of Facilities Bob Robinson, Assistant Vice President of HR Brenda Rushforth, Senior Human Resources Business Partner Carol Saldivar and General Manager of Dining Services Jose Martinez, the email said. 

“[They] ensured that the College can safely offer this important opportunity for our staff and to our community partners,” the email said. “We also thank the faculty and members of the Pomona community for their support.”

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