Food for Hopkins supports employees affected by COVID-19 pandemic

More than 2,400 meals have been distributed to Hopkins Medicine employees via food pantries at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Bayview Medical Center

Volunteers bag food donations

Credit: Photo courtesy of Sherita Hill Golden

To support employees and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins has launched the Food for Hopkins program, which offers two to three weekly pickups of critical food supplies at both Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.

Any Johns Hopkins Medicine employee can visit the hospital's Armstrong Medical Education Building at 1600 McElderry St. on Mondays and Wednesdays for a breakfast bag and a lunch/dinner bag—enough food to feed a family of four for a day. Pickups are from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Mondays and from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. At Bayview, employees should go to the Asthma and Allergy Center at 5501 Hopkins Bayview Circle, on Tuesdays from 3 to 7 p.m. and Fridays from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m.

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Sponsored by Johns Hopkins Medicine Office of Diversity, Inclusion and Health Equity and Johns Hopkins Children's Center Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Food for Hopkins was created to supplement similar Baltimore City efforts focused either on children 18 and younger through the city schools or people age 60 and over who live alone, have disabilities, have limited access to food, and do not have family members in the Baltimore area.

"There are many reasons why our employees would use the pantry—loss of secondary income, inability to access food due to work schedule demands, lack of access to fresh produce" says Sherita Hill Golden, vice president and chief diversity officer for Johns Hopkins Medicine. "In addition, recent statewide transportation restrictions and reduction in the MTA schedule limited the ability of many of our staff to reach food distribution sites, particularly if they work more than one job. Also, many of our staff work long hours on clinical units and find grocery shelves empty late in the day."

Knowing that access to nonperishable goods, produce, water, and paper goods might pose a financial hardship for staff with limited financial means, Johns Hopkins Medicine administrators began coordinating the Food for Hopkins program in April, partnering with the Maryland Food Bank to purchase shelf-stable food for any staff who have a need. The items provided for meals have been reviewed by dietitians at the Children's Center to ensure maximum nutritional value.

"To date, over 1,200 bags of food and 600 boxes of produce have been distributed," Golden says. "Each bag and box feeds a family of four, so we have been able to provide over 2,400 meals. We are grateful to all our volunteers who assist with packing and distribution."

If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up to do so at either Johns Hopkins Hospital or Bayview Medical Center.