Charles Rothman: Chef and Regional Manager
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the food service industry came to halt, Charles Rothman found himself with some extra time on his hands. His wife, a long-time employee at Edmonton Meals on Wheels, told him that the agency had seen a decrease in volunteer numbers and were desperate for help. Given his extensive background in the food service industry and passion for everything food related, he was the perfect for the job. Charles spent a few weeks in the Meals on Wheels kitchen until he was approached to fill another position within the agency. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the charity had found themselves with no one to manage the communications department, so they offered Charles a two-month contract to fill in as their Communications Consultant. He accepted.
Charles’ connections to the local hospitality industry were exactly what the agency needed. Within days he recruited industry professionals from around Edmonton to assist the kitchen production team.
During his two months Charles built partnerships with local businesses and obtained donations to meet the urgent needs of the agency. From donated food products, appreciation gifts for volunteers, staff lunches, kitchen equipment and more, Charles used his expertise and connections to help the agency as they overcame challenges brought on by COVID-19.
As an essential service whose clients are considered some of the most vulnerable to COVID-19, Edmonton Meals on Wheels saw a sharp increase in attention from media outlets. Charles used this opportunity to spread awareness about the agency and the people they serve. He managed to land segments in The Globe and Mail, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun and CBC, and was featured on several radio shows and news broadcasts.
One of his final contributions to Edmonton Meals on Wheels was the Essential Toiletry Kit initiative. Charles led this collaborative project which worked to collect, assemble, and deliver Essential Toiletry Kits to those in need. Through this effort, over 650 vulnerable and isolated Edmontonians received essential toiletry items at no cost.
The passion, connections, and expertise of Edmonton’s food service and hospitality industry that Charles brought to the agency had an impact that will last long after he returns to his full-time position at Food Service Solutions. Edmonton Meals on Wheels was in a crisis and Charles Rothman was a huge part of why we made it through.