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At Avalon Manor, it's meals for many

November 27, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

If you think preparing a Thanksgiving feast for one family is a task, consider the challenge faced by the Avalon Manor Health Care Center employees, who prepared about 265 meals over the past few days for residents at three facilities.

Kim Freshman, director of dietary services for Avalon Manor, said she planned the logistics of the feast over the past six weeks.

It can be stressful to plan for and help prepare 30 pumpkin pies, six turkeys and all the other traditional fixings, but that is outweighed by the compliments the cooks and the aides get for the meals, she said.

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"It can be time-consuming, but it is worth it," she said. "It is not that hard."

Wednesday was the third straight day employees spent cooking and preparing the meals, she said.

Michelle R. Sprow, admissions and marketing director, said staff members cooked and prepared 100 Thanksgiving dinners for residents of the Alexander House and 30 for those living at Holly Place.

Alexander House is a subsidized apartment complex for senior citizens and people with disabilities. Holly Place provides 24-hour supervision and assistance to low-income senior citizens.

Whipping up the holiday feast is done in addition to preparing holiday meals for the 165 Avalon Manor residents and their families, Sprow said.

The food was delivered to residents of the Alexander House and Holly Place Wednesday night, she said.

Sprow said this is the fifth year Avalon Manor has provided food to the other two facilities.

Freshman said she received a few calls earlier this week from residents of Alexander House who were excited about getting the holiday meal and thanking the Avalon Manor employees for their work.

Freshman said she enjoys cooking for large groups of people.

Asked what she suggests to people preparing Thanksgiving meals today for a lot of people, she said, "Plan ahead. Plan ahead."

Phyllis Douglas, a dietary cook at Avalon Manor, has been preparing meals for residents there for more than 20 years and said she enjoys the work.

Some say she treats the residents too well when she agrees to fill a special request for someone who wants something other than what is on that day's menus. But she said the residents deserve to be spoiled.

"You are helping the people that can't help themselves," she said.

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