Global safety equipment manufacturer MSA Safety and Parkhurst Dining teamed up this spring to provide over 50,000 free meals to essential MSA employees. MSA made headlines in March of 2020 when the Cranberry Township, Pa.-based company donated 65,000 N95 disposable respirators to hospitals fighting the coronavirus pandemic in Pittsburgh.
Parkhurst recently started their partnership with MSA, officially taking over the on-site corporate dining operations at their Murrysville and Cranberry Township locations in January of 2020. The excitement of creating culinary experiences for new guests was quickly expanded to include the need for creative dining solutions tailored to the COVID-19 era. To support MSA’s associates still on-site, who were essential to ensure continued production of safety products needed by workers in critical infrastructure industries, the company decided to provide employees with one free meal a day for two weeks.
“This new normal was becoming a way of life for people. We wanted to keep things positive and fun.” General Manager Steve Roberston
Parkhurst began preparing all-inclusive hot lunches, starting simple with meals like chicken sandwiches, burgers, fries, and soft drinks. After the two weeks, however, MSA and Parkhurst realized that this new way of working was going to continue for much longer than expected. MSA decided to extend the program, including a free meal for second and third shift associates who were working overnight to produce safety equipment like hard hats, gas detectors, and respirators. For these workers, Parkhurst prepared various deli sandwich options, assorted chips, and bottled drinks. The Parkhurst team also quickly adapted their service style to respect social distancing guidelines, allowing MSA employees to pick up their meals with a ticketed grab-and-go system. Some MSA teams delegated an assigned person to pick up all the packaged meals for their department, ensuring even less traffic.
To boost morale and celebrate the hard work of MSA’s essential workers, Parkhurst planned a “Heroes Week,” which featured different themes like Kennywood Day, Superhero Day, and Picnic Day. The culinary team prepared exciting menus for the workers to enjoy, with freshly prepared foods like funnel cakes, gourmet hot dogs, and barbecue smoked on-site for 24 hours.
The free meal program continued until the end of June, feeding more than 500 essential MSA associates per day. Parkhurst Dining continues to provide culinary services to MSA’s Murrysville and Cranberry locations daily.