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SXU Gives Back to Community During COVID-19 Emergency


Saint Xavier University (SXU) staff, faculty and students are giving back to the community during the COVID-19 emergency, exemplifying SXU's Mercy mission and exercising the core values of compassion and service.

SXU's Information Technology Department coordinated loaning multiple iPads to Mercy Circle, an assisted living facility and retirement community sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy. Working together, Nathan Peck, department chair of Art and Design; Maureen Wogan, vice president for Enrollment Management, Student Development and Student Success; and Molly Maley-Gaik, chief information officer, and Rola Othman, director of Client Services, both with Information Technology, coordinated the distribution of iPads so Mercy Circle residents could FaceTime with their families, who are unable to visit them in person due to the Illinois "shelter-in-place" order.

"While we cannot have human touch during this time of crisis, we were proud to be able to provide technology that connects the people of Mercy Circle to their families. It brightened our days to be able to facilitate this as it's so important we stick together during this disruption," said Maley-Gaik. "We hope they will be able to connect in person soon! We are always here to help our neighbors and community."

The iPads bring a little hope and cheer to those who are unable to connect during this difficult time, and the SXU community is grateful to contribute to bringing the community together in creative ways.

"I am so pleased that the iPads are being used to connect people. [My family and I] do a Zoom session every morning with our parents and all the kids and grandkids get on from various locations. It brightens everyone's day and keeps us connected together," said Othman.

Country House Restaurant and Kitchen Company has partnered with SXU since 2016, providing fresh, homemade meals to students , as well as serving the community. Started by Paul Boundas, Country House also manages the school lunch program at SXU's Gilhooley's, which delivers hot lunches to community grammar schools. In 2019, Gilhooley's transitioned into a private event venue.

As a family-owned company, their values are focused on the betterment of the surrounding community. In response to COVID-19, Country House is delivering free meals to seniors who are homebound to avoid infection. SXU community members spread the word on the meals to neighbors and relatives, and thanks to significant community fundraising efforts, Country House is currently feeding more than 1,000 people per day and playing an integral part in helping seniors stay home and healthy.

Country House has also delivered free meals to the hardworking staff at Advocate Christ Hospital and the staff at Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, expressing gratefulness for the heroic actions they show daily in the fight against COVID-19.

"It has truly been a blessing partnering with Country House, who truly care about our students and their needs, as well as the community's needs. When SXU transitioned to remote learning in response to COVID-19, thus changing the dining schedule, Paul saw the need for meal delivery to our community senior citizens who were now homebound. Paul found a way to fill the needs of the community and keep his staff working full time," said Linda Moreno, director of Auxiliary Services.

SXU is incredibly proud of how its faculty, staff and students step up to live the Mercy mission in action.