Putting Food on the Table

Written by Ernie Stark

Consider the task: ensuring that 600+ residents have nutritious food that meet their individual needs. That’s the mission of the Food Services Department, led by Director Bob Noga, his assistants Jim Ahlfeld and Kyle Rhone, as well as Head Chef Sammy Johnson and Head Baker Freddy Fernandez. Food Services reports to Father Jack, who said “They do all the work.”

The task of feeding Misericordia residents is a complex job, which requires a great deal of organization. Think about the different types of residences on campus and the variety of residents’ needs. For example, some residents can eat typical food while others need their food pureed. Some have dietary restrictions. Some can eat independently, some cannot. Other residents receive tube feeding. There are almost as many specific needs as there are residents.

Two staff dieticians create recipes and plan the meals, meals that can be adapted in a variety of ways that meet the residents’ needs. Purchasing food and other supplies is also part of Food Services. In addition to three chefs and seven cooks, the kitchen staff includes those who prepare the food, scullery personnel and the drivers who deliver meals to the residences.

If providing daily breakfast, lunch and dinner to hundreds of residents were not challenging enough, Food Services and the Bakery also prepare food for The Green House Inn, the staff cafeteria on Devon and the many social and development events which occur on campus throughout the year.

In addition to all of this, Food Services is integral to two other huge events. One, they cater the annual Christmas brunches. During Advent, several hundred people attend two brunches each Sunday.   Also, there’s Family Fest, which welcomes 15,000 people to campus. Food Services manages several booths around the grounds as well as selling bakery items.

We see and interact with the Misericordia ‘front line’ staff, such as the Qs, the DSPs and the nursing staff. So many others, like Food Services, also take care of our loved ones. Like other staff, they are dedicated to Misericordia and take great pride in contributing to the residents’ care. It is holy work and we owe them a great debt of thanks.

Shannon March 2021 1