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PennyMac: Fueling Our Frontline Heroes

“Real heroes are all around us and uncelebrated.” – Peter Capaldi

When we think of frontline workers, we often think of emergency rooms full of doctors and nurses in hazmat suits. But these are not the only real heroes. The real heroes include every one of the people who are “essential” to making the health care machine work — Yes, the doctors and nurses, but also the home health care, orderlies, phlebotomists, police officers, mental health workers, physician assistants, the people who clean up, drivers, clerical workers. None of these “ordinary” people, our neighbors, woke up one day and said, “Hey, I think I’ll put my life on the line,” but that’s exactly what they do. And that’s a lot of mouths to feed every day to keep these heroes fueled and the health care machine running.

“Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.” – Gerard Way

National lender PennyMac Loan Services (NMLS #35953) wanted to salute the frontline workers, the all-nighters, the double shifters — the ones putting others above themselves and giving it all they’ve got. The unprecedented onset of the COVID-19 pandemic impacted each and every one of us. 

PennyMac, where people and community are front and center, focused on how to protect their 2 million homeowners and communities across America, as well as more than 5,000 PennyMac team members.  PennyMac’s WFH (Work From Home) policy was set up to keep customers served as well as protect its team, and PennyMac knew that wasn’t enough. It couldn’t stop there. 

The Penny Pantry — PennyMac’s extensive in-house food services provider in the southern California headquarters — was suddenly idle without team members to feed in their offices. So rather than sit empty, the Penny Pantry got together and cooked up (quite literally) a charitable effort.

Cooking to combat COVID 

“After assessing the needs of our California community, it was clear that we could help health care workers who were fighting against COVID-19 — by fueling the frontliners with delicious and nutritious food,” said Marci Grogin, Food Services Director of the Penny Pantry.

Grogin and her PennyMac team immediately connected with local medical facilities and committed the resources of the Penny Pantry to deliver weekly lunches to frontline heroes. 

“The sanitization and preparation process these hospital workers go through just to start their day is intense. Many were forgoing lunch just to avoid the process of removing all their gear to re-sanitize,” Grogin explained. “And with many area restaurants closed, we knew we had to provide our hometown heroes with the healthy lunches they deserved. We wanted to bring the food to them.”

While no donation could match the gratitude for our nation’s health care workers working tirelessly to treat coronavirus patients, PennyMac and the Penny Pantry continue to dedicate themselves to helping our communities. Since April, the Penny Pantry’s philanthropic effort energized the frontlines by delivering up to 625 meals a week to local hospitals and medical facilities, including UCLA Medical Center, UCLA Dialysis and Providence Cedars Sinai Tarzana Medical Center. All meals were handcrafted and delivered by the dedicated staff of the Penny Pantry. 

Surprising the staff 

When Tarzana Medical Center, UCLA Medical Center and UCLA Dialysis accepted the Penny Pantry’s donation offer, they had no idea what to expect. The response from each hospital’s staff was overwhelmingly positive.

“The staff loves your meals, and your cookies. Each week, we get rave reviews on your dishes, with many staff members asking where it is from. They love that they are healthy meals and delicious meals. Many have asked if they can still get them once this is all over. I wanted to let you know how much of an impact you are having on our staff. They look forward to Tuesdays.” 

— Pam Egendorfer, Coordinator of Service Excellence & Volunteer Services Providence Cedars Sinai Tarzana Medical Center 

“Please pass a big, virtual hug and thanks to Mrs. Marci and the PennyMac [Penny Pantry] team from us at 100 Medical Plaza Nephrology and Cardiology Team of UCLA. The clinic staff, nurses and doctors all are very much impressed with the quality of these healthy packed meals. Thanks so much for thinking of us.” 

— Dr. Niloofar Nobakht, MD, FASN, Assistant Clinical Professor 
Division of Nephrology | UCLA

More than 4,200 delicious meals were made from scratch and safely delivered with pride by the Penny Pantry team to the hungry heroes, providing them with fresh, seasonal nourishment they so desperately needed during their long and very busy shifts. 

Favorites at the hospitals include staff favorites like the Pantry’s Mexican fare, featuring homemade salsa, as well as “over-the-top” salads with dressings made from scratch daily and “killer” sandwiches on freshly baked rolls. 

“At PennyMac, we are committed to doing the right thing for our customers, colleagues, business partners and neighbors in the communities in which we live and work,” said David Spector, PennyMac CEO. “From PennyMac and the Penny Pantry to all our frontline COVID fighters, thank you for your dedication to keeping our communities safe.”

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