By Charzie Abendanio
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment’s meal donation program will reach 100,000 meals produced later this week, and to accommodate the overwhelming support and donations to date, the program has been expanded to include the use of BMO Field, and the addition of BMO as a lead partner, to maximize its impact in the community. With the additional resources, the “Bringing Toronto Back To Its Feet” program, designed to thank and support Toronto’s front-line health workers, their families, and local community agencies, will be able to expand beyond their original production goal of 10,000 meals per day to now produce up to 13,000 meals per day.
“MLSE and our teams are always proud to represent Toronto, inspire our citizens, and serve our community, but that is especially true in challenging times,” said Larry Tanenbaum, Chairman of MLSE. “We are extremely proud of our organization and our employees who had a hand in bringing this program to life and grateful to the many partners who were so quick to lend their support. We all look forward to the day when we can return to hosting and entertaining our fans, but until then, we are focused on doing everything we can to help our community recover from this difficult period.”
MLSE will use BMO Field’s numerous food preparation facilities to prepare and assemble the additional meal packages. MLSE’s chefs and food and beverage staff, along with employees from different departments within the company, have been working together on this program as the company’s sports and entertainment operations are halted due to the pandemic.
“We’re extremely proud to help expand this successful program to support front-line health workers and Second Harvest, who provide meals to the most vulnerable members of our community,” said Darryl White, CEO, BMO Financial Group. “BMO is here to boldly grow the good in business and life, and that inspires the actions we’re taking to fight this pandemic. We’ll continue to look for opportunities like this with our partners to grow the good in our communities.”
BMO Field’s facilities are a valuable addition to the program and its aim to reach a new goal of producing up to 13,000 meals per day. BMO joins the previously announced founding partners of the community outreach effort in MLSE, Scotiabank, Tangerine Bank, Bell Canada, and Rogers Communications.
“There has been an outpouring of support in response to this initiative and it has further demonstrated the united and generous spirit of Toronto,” said Michael Friisdahl, President and CEO of MLSE. “The addition of the facilities at BMO Field, and the support of BMO as a partner, will help us grow this program beyond what we had first envisioned and provide even more support to the community where and when it is needed most. We are very appreciative to everyone who has played a role in making this program possible, but we are especially grateful for the generosity of MLSE’s ownership, the commitment of our employees, and the support of our corporate and community partners. This is an example of Toronto at its best.”
“I want to thank BMO for joining MLSE’s food donation program, which will help feed families across our city. The
expansion of this program to include BMO Field shows this truly is a growing team effort to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor John Tory. “Businesses in Toronto have stepped up throughout this crisis to help the community – it’s the Toronto way – and I want to thank MLSE, and all of its corporate partners for demonstrating that Toronto spirit through their involvement in this impactful initiative.”
Since the announcement of the program, MLSE has also received more donations than anticipated from the community
to support with logistics, including delivery, food or financial donations, and assistance from volunteers. MLSE and all of the partners involved with the program are thankful to Mackie Movers, Pinnacle Caterers, Nestlé Canada, McCormick Canada, Smucker’s, Pizza Pizza and Diageo Canada for providing extra support and welcome the generosity of the many others inquiring about how they can assist the program.
In the first two weeks of operation, the MLSE culinary team’s meal production has included almost 25,000 pounds of chicken, 15,000 pounds of potatoes, 10,000 pounds of mixed vegetables and 8,000 pounds of pasta.
Second Harvest, the largest food rescue organization in Canada, along with a network of local suppliers and sponsors, are supplying fresh ingredients daily to the MLSE team. The chefs are then turning those food supplies, along with other food purchased or donated to the program, into fresh, nutritious, ready-to-heat single-serving meals suitable for a variety of dietary needs. Meals are then labelled before being readied for delivery five days a week. The program is expected to prepare and deliver hundreds of thousands of meals over the coming weeks for a growing network of hospitals and community agencies.
“To limit the spread of COVID-19 while maintaining social distancing, it’s essential that community food programs now provide takeaway meals to an increasing number of people in need. Unfortunately, many of the organizations Second Harvest supports do not have the kitchens or money necessary to do that– and that gap puts thousands of vulnerable people at risk,” said Lori Nikkel, CEO of Second Harvest. “We are incredibly grateful to MLSE and its partners for helping us close that gap by mobilizing its world-class venue and chefs, and for the generosity of so many food donors that are enabling us to provide thousands of meals every week. We are determined that no one be left behind.”
MLSE worked with food hygiene experts and Toronto Public Health during the development of the program to ensure the safety of the meals and of the people who are working to prepare them.
Charzie Abendanio is Manager, Corporate Communications for Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment in Toronto.
By R.V. Baugus
Many venues — let’s say most — are and have been working diligently to balance the need to assist in their communities with the need to plan for the many steps necessary in reopening, whenever that may be.
An article written by Aaron Wilson in the Houston Chronicle caught our eye about how the NFL Houston Texans plan to become what is thought to be the first professional sports team looking to hire a full-time hygiene coordinator to oversee that aspect of operations at the team’s practice facility and NRG Stadium. The obvious goal is to provide and protect sanitary conditions at the 72,220-seat venue to keep players, workers, and fans safe.
The venue is owned by Harris County and as a result such a hire would also handle the myriad of other major events at the stadium including the Texas Bowl and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, among others. The hire will oversee the team’s custodial staff provided by F&B provider Aramark and work in tandem with Harris County infrastructures to coordinate the cleanliness of NRG Stadium as well.
We will be reporting more on this particular situation as well as if this will become a hiring trend as more venues return to normal operations.
Photo by Visit Houston.
By McQ Olsen
ExtraMile Arena, located in the heart of Boise State University’s campus and Idaho’s capital city of Boise, is yet another venue that has stayed busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“At ExtraMile Arena, hundreds of staff members work tirelessly to support the Arena’s mission of bringing world class creativity, competition and celebration to life,” said Lisa Cochran, executive director of the venue. “For the moment, our hallowed halls of celebration sit empty, waiting patiently as our community bands together to flatten the curve. As a way of thanking our staff and supporting community businesses, ExtraMile Arena has teamed up with ExtraMile/Jacksons, Bronco Sports Properties, Chicago Connection, Tropical Smoothie, and Dutch Bros to distribute gift cards to our staff. As these cards are used throughout the community, may our staff and businesses alike take pride in knowing that their efforts are instrumental in making Boise, and the greater Treasure Valley, a truly wonderful place to live.
“During this difficult time, we miss the smiling faces of our employees and the opportunity to work side-by-side to create extraordinary events. Until we can come together again to celebrate once-in-a-lifetime achievements, sing at the top of our lungs or cheer on our Broncos, remember that we are stronger together and we will get through this.”
McQ Olsen is associate director of marketing at ExtraMile Arena.
The International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) is pleased to announce that they have partnered with The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, today to offer the GBAC STAR™ facility accreditation program on cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention to its members.
Ideal for facilities like offices, restaurants, hotels, airports, convention centers, stadiums, arenas, performing arts centers, and other public assembly venues of all sizes, the GBAC STAR program assesses a facility’s preparedness and provides staff with training for biorisk prevention and containment. The program also establishes a framework for communication and awareness best practices.
“GBAC STAR is the gold standard of safe facilities, providing third-party validation that ensures facilities implement strict protocols for biorisk situations,” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “Accreditation empowers facility owners and managers to assure workers, customers, and key stakeholders that they have proven systems in place to deliver clean and healthy environments that are safe for business.”
GBAC STAR is the industry’s only outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation and establishes requirements to assist facilities with work practices, protocols, procedures, and systems to control risks associated with infectious agents, such as SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19.
“IAVM was searching for resources and external partners to support our members with the recovery process, and ISSA is considered one of the leading trade association for the cleaning industry worldwide,” said Brad Mayne, CVE, IAVM President & CEO. “GBAC is a third-party entity which has a government affairs and regulatory team that works with federal, state, and local regulators and policymakers to ensure that policies and regulations adopted allow the cleaning industry to be successful, while also providing their customers and the public with a cleaner and healthier environment. IAVM’s Events Industry Health & Safety Advisory Council has been working closely with GBAC and
ISSA to provide guidelines and resources regarding deep cleaning, sanitizing, team training and venue certifications to our public assembly industry so that our member venues can safely reopen and recover.”
IAVM’s Events Industry Health & Safety Advisory Council, which is comprised of representatives from all sectors and co-chaired by Frank Poe, Executive Director, Georgia World Congress Center, and Brett Mitchell, CVE, General Manager Overland Park Convention Center, support the use of the GBAC STAR portal by offering additional assistance for those member venues who sign up for certification.
GBAC STAR accreditation criteria and facility applications are now available at www.gbac.org. IAVM members who use the code IAVM2020 while registering in the portal will receive access to the Events Industry Health & Safety Advisory Council members to help guide and assist them with the process.
The announcement was made Monday, May 4th, to students and faculty of Venue Management School that VMS 2020 will not be held, due to the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on the ability for students and faculty to travel. VMS will resume as planned in 2021. The final decision to not hold the school this year was difficult to make, but it was in the best interest of all students, faculty and staff. Our members are our top concern, and our priority is always to provide the best educational and networking experiences while keeping you safe and healthy.
All students currently registered have the option to either rollover their tuition, room and board to attend VMS 2021 or obtain a full refund without admin fee penalties. By rolling over these funds, you are guaranteed a spot in Year 1, Year 2, or GI for 2021 only, with no increase in pricing.
We hope to you at Saddlebrook for VMS 2021!