Sodexo Commentary

The Long Road to Relief and Recovery

By Tom Post
September 19th, 2011

The emergency shelter set up at Binghamton University.

As most of us on the east coast saw first-hand, Hurricane Irene, then the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee, wreaked havoc in our towns and communities. Power outages, wind damage and flooding were commonplace up and down the eastern portion of the United States.

From Virginia to Vermont, Sodexo employees showed true Sodexo spirit in preparing for and managing the storms and their aftermath.

Our team in New York at Binghamton University worked valiantly 24/7 to provide those affected with three meals per day; not to mention special diets for the elderly and small children, people with religious dietary needs and food allergies, and soft food diets.

In upstate New York at SUNY New Paltz, our team persevered through extensive power outages to serve 13 residential halls, as well as a temporary Red Cross shelter about 5,000 meals a day.

In Southern Vermont, the damage was particularly bad – widespread power outages and massive floods hit large areas of the state. Roads and bridges in places like Wilmington, Dover, Northfield, Brattleboro, Bennington and Rutland were either washed out, destroyed or impassable.

At the World Learning in Brattleboro, Sodexo produced 600 meals that were distributed to area residents. Brattleboro was all but cut off to the outside world because of washed out bridges and roads. Even though the local grocery store shelves were empty, Sodexo was able to utilize its resources to feed those affected by the storm for seven days straight.

In hard hit Rutland, the onsite Sodexo team was able to create a make-shift food distribution center. Our team was able to recruit almost 60 volunteers to help with the production of 1,200 sandwiches.  These meals were packed into several Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicles, which then made dangerous treks to more than 25 communities without even the most basic of services. The Sodexo Rutland location continued this emergency response for 10 days.

Finally, on a personal note, at Norwich University, in Northfield, Sodexo had nine employees lose much of their belongings. In addition to providing them with food, the Sodexo Employee Disaster Relief Fund is currently assisting with rebuilding their lives.

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who is helping out with efforts for displaced members of their community and those affected by this extreme weather. The inspiring Sodexo teams in New York and Vermont, along with many others, are doing important and meaningful work, and no doubt there are more selfless acts of generosity to come – it’s the Spirit of Sodexo.

Tom Post is the President of Sodexo Education – Campus

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One Response to “The Long Road to Relief and Recovery”

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