Each day, the kitchen staff members at Christ House prepare three delicious and nutritious meals for our patients. The greatest of these, in food quantity and popularity, is lunch! Our kitchen staff serves an average of 35-40 individuals at lunchtime, which includes patients, Kairos Members, and staff. Meal preparation takes approximately one hour, and often varies depending on the complexity of the dish itself. Meals at Christ House typically consist of a primary protein, a fruit or vegetable, and a healthy carbohydrate. One popular menu item at Christ House is beef tacos with toppings such as cheese and salsa, alongside a fresh side salad and sampling of mixed fruit. Our kitchen staff also ensures there are options for patients who are vegetarians, patients with food allergies, and patients needing a soft diet.
Behind the scenes, a great deal needs to happen in order for our kitchen staff to serve lunch. For example, where does all of our food come from? Most of the food at Christ House is donated from local pantries and grocery stores like Giant and Safeway. Our Food Services Manager collaborates with numerous organizations to ensure that we maintain a steady supply of healthy ingredients and kitchen supplies so we can properly serve our community. Christ House’s kitchen also relies heavily upon in-kind donations. Our pantry always needs more peanut butter and jelly, raw chicken, whole wheat bread, and fruit cups. Generous donors and friends of Christ House often help provide these items and graciously contribute to the meals and snacks we prepare for our patients on a daily basis.
Additionally, our cooks are not the only ones in the kitchen who help prepare for lunch! Our volunteers have returned to Christ House after a long hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our kitchen volunteers and Kairos Members assist with crucial tasks such as setting tables, filling pitchers of water, washing dishes, refilling condiments, sweeping, and wiping down surfaces. While our volunteers work to set up, clean up, and organize, our kitchen staff are cooking and getting ready to plate delicious meals.
The first completed meals are taken upstairs to the nurses’ station. These meals are delivered to patients who are immobile, resting, or at outside medical appointments. Downstairs in the dining room our fully immunized, fully masked volunteers serve the rest of the meals to patients at their tables. Patients are welcome to begin eating as soon as they are served at 12:30pm, and may sometimes request extra condiments or helpings throughout their meal as needed
For kitchen staff and volunteers, lunch is not over when patients are done eating! There is still more work to be done. Our Kairos Members and local volunteers assist in bringing dirty dishes to the kitchen, sweeping, mopping, and cleaning tables, chairs and counters. After dishes run through an industrial-sized dishwasher, they must be returned to their particular spots in the kitchen. While this is going on, our kitchen staff must also start to prepare dinner, which requires extensive planning, physical preparation, and cooking time. Ultimately, our dining room is always full of joy and laughter as our patients eat together and enjoy a meal that has been prepared with love and great attention to detail!
It is truly a team effort to serve lunch at Christ House, and we are very grateful for all of the hard work our kitchen staff, Kairos Members, and volunteers put into meal preparation and dining. If you are interested in volunteering and participating in serving our community, then please check out the following links: