Maury Regional finds unique way to utilize excess foods


COLUMBIA, Tenn. — Maury Regional Health (MRH) has found a new way to make the most out of its food not consumed by patients and staff on a daily basis.

Starting in January, the organization has used a partnership with The People’s Table to feed those less fortunate in the community. The idea was born out of an initiative through Morrison Healthcare, a Compass One Healthcare company that partners with MRH to provide food and nutrition services.

The People’s Table is a local soup kitchen organized by a collective of local churches and held each Tuesday and Friday at Columbia First United Methodist Church. The organization makes weekly visits to Maury Regional Medical Center (MRMC) to collect meals that would otherwise go to waste.

“The process has worked really well so far,” said Jerry Coulter, director of food and nutrition at MRH. “We’re thrilled that we can help our community members who are less fortunate. Our employees really have taken this initiative on in full force.”

The MRMC Food & Nutrition team packages food for families of four, as well as individual plates, in tin containers that are picked up by The People’s Table. The tin containers allow the food to be placed right into the oven, and the meals are labeled by what’s included and who prepared it. The People’s Table takes any excess meals to Harvest Share, a food pantry in Columbia.

“We’ve increased from providing probably 135 meals to about 165 meals weekly with the help of Maury Regional,” said David Barnett, director of The People’s Table. “It’s really awesome because it helps our meals go further and helps more people in our community.”

Not only does MRH get the satisfaction of helping the community, but it’s also turned into a learning tool for the Food & Nutrition team. Employees can track what foods they are donating most often, teaching them where they can cut back and what they can use more of in the future.

“It really is a win-win situation for us, and we’re so happy to be able to help our community,” said Kevin Kimmel, assistant director of food and nutrition at MRH. “We use it as a learning tool to discover what foods are left over most often while at the same time helping a local organization that is doing a lot of good for our community.”

In addition to handling meals for patients and operating the cafeteria on the ground floor of the main hospital building and the Java Junction coffee shop on the first floor, the MRMC Food & Nutrition team also oversees the Maury Regional Food Pantry. Since it was established in 2012, it has served more than 4,600 families, now helping 60-70 families per month.

The cafeteria is open daily from 6:30-9:30 a.m. for breakfast, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. for lunch Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for lunch Saturday and Sunday. The Java Junction is open from 6 a.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Menus, catering options and more information on the dining options at MRMC, Marshall Medical Center and Wayne Medical Center can be found at

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