Timothy Dennis, a 2017 College of New Rochelle (CNR) alumnus, is no stranger to disaster. As an essential worker at Whitsons Culinary Group, he coordinates the distribution of meals to those in need in New York and New Jersey.
“After Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, some people went for weeks without power or had to vacate their homes,” he recalled. Dennis dispatched countless trucks to deliver shelf-stable foods and meals in pouches to thousands of people in crisis. “Like now, we had to work around the clock.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dennis has worked the midnight to 9:00 a.m. shift. Serving clients such as Meals on Wheels and the Department of Homeless Services, his objective is making sure vulnerable populations — those in homeless shelters, hospitals and nursing homes, among others — receive adequate nutrition in the form of easy-to-prepare, packaged meals. He understands that the service he provides enables caregivers to do the important work of keeping their charges healthy and safe.
It has been about ten years since Dennis, who earned a bachelor’s in psychology from CNR and is currently pursuing a master’s in social psychology, started working for Whitsons, first as a driver and more recently as warehouse manager. He and his crew have added rigorous disinfection and social distancing protocols to their already full workdays. But because they are in constant contact with the public, especially workers on the front lines of the pandemic, several of his co-workers or their family members have developed COVID-19.
While Dennis shares the same concerns about health and financial security that have become a hard reality of the current climate, he remains optimistic and motivated. “I like helping people,” he said. “I like attacking a challenge and getting a positive outcome. My studies in social psychology at CNR have made me more aware of how everything we do affects other people. This crisis is an opportunity for widespread positive change. We all just need to accept the status quo, find a common thread and pull together.”
Mercy is a strong community and by working together we will make our community even stronger. If you are a Maverick making a difference, or you know of one, let us know at PR@mercy.edu.
Donate here to support Mercy students.