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Dining Services Contributes Back Stock to Support Community, Shifts Point of Service to the Market

The MarketThe Market, the convenience store outlet of Ferris State University's Dining Services operation is the point of distribution for customers on campus, offering meals and other products on a schedule of three days a week.

In response to institutional changes brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ferris State University’s Dining Services has made the best use of its food supply, while continuing its mission to serve students and other university community members.

Director of Dining Services Scott Rossen said that his area was well stocked for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. An early order of business, as the campus population dwindled, was to see that those items did not go to waste.

“Our perishables went out first as we gave them to meal distribution programs that are administered by local school districts,” Rossen said. “We have followed up with them to provide those products with ‘best by dates’ that we could not make use of. The university’s Department of Public Safety has received our coffee, we have also made donations to Eagle Village and to Spectrum Health-Big Rapids Hospital, and all of it was welcomed by our community partners.”

With approximately 30 students who reside on campus holding Dining Services meal plans, Rossen said that the decision was made to consolidate operations and use The Market as their distribution site.

“Our convenience store-style operation is open each Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.,” Rossen said. “We still sell school supplies and other products we have offered there, but now have frozen entrées, ‘Ready to Heat’ meals and some hot dishes available for our customers.”

Rossen said that students with an unlimited meal plan have been given $100 in Dining Dollars to spend at The Market. Staffing has been altered from the normal employee levels at The Rock Café or the Quad Café, but students can make food purchases to eat in their residences.

“We had glazed ham, with all the typical trimmings for an Easter meal, which went over very well,” Rossen said. “We sold out of those packages on Friday, April 10, and students told us they were glad to find that option. We have also packaged pasta, flour, hamburger patties and hot dogs, which are well received by our student customers.”

Rossen said that his staff has been responsive to the special requests that arise as the students have adjusted to the altered operations necessary to close out the semester.

“If they need condiments or have a particular desire, we make the efforts necessary to help them enjoy each meal,” Rossen said. “Whether they want the staple foods or snacks, we are happy to give them the comforts they seek.”

Two Dining Services employees support Rossen in meal preparation and staffing The Market in its reduced schedule.

“I am proud of the efforts we have made to adjust operations in a most trying situation,” Rossen said. “We are very much looking forward to reassembling our staff and returning to the service schedule and offerings our campus and community expect from us.”