Local hospitals create grocery stores for employees

Posted at 5:33 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 12:13:34-04

NAMPA, Idaho — St. Alphonsus and St. Luke's are making it easier for their employees to go grocery shopping. Both health organizations are making the store available inside the hospital.

Part of the St. Alphonsus cafeteria in Nampa has been transformed into a store where only employees can shop. Hospital officials did this so their workers would not have to shop in regular stores and risk being exposed to COVID-19.

Employees can purchase necessities like dairy products, vegetables, ready-to-eat meals and even toilet paper. The hospital is getting all the items from it's regular supplier.

Our staff are working long hours, and we're finding that when they do have an opportunity to get to the grocery store a lot of the items that they need are already out of stock," said Sheri Ainsworth, Director of Operations at St. Alphonsus. "So we really wanted to look at how can we continue to care for our colleagues so that they can continue to care for our community."

The cafeteria is still open to employees and patients. The in-house grocery store started this week as a pilot program in Nampa and will expand to the Boise hospital on Friday.

St. Luke's has grocery locations set up in Meridian, Nampa, Magic Valley, Boise, and the St. Luke's Plaza Mini Mart. Products like bread, bagels, butter, milk and soy milk, lunch meat and cheese are available for employees.

"They don't have to expose themselves to the public, and they don't have to interact at grocery stores and run that risk, because they are healthcare workers, and anything we can do to limit their exposure keeps them safe and our patients safe," said Bart Zillner, Operations Manager for Food and Nutrition

The St. Luke's Grocery2Go program piloted in Meridian and the Food and Nutrition team is working to make sure items are frequently available.

The St. Luke's Boise location is expanding to included prepared meals for employees to take home to their families.