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Feeding Patients, And the Community

Written by Jeremy Farnum on in LVMC News

Every month, LVMC’s kitchen and cafe serve about 10,000 meals to patients and customers at the Ocean’s Seven Cafe.

Every month, LVMC’s kitchen and cafe serve about 10,000 meals to patients and customers at the Ocean’s Seven Cafe.

Added to those culinary duties is a little-known fact — LVMC provides hundreds of meals each week as the food provider for Lompoc’s Meals on Wheels program. It’s a relationship that has been ongoing for more than 30 years, says Director of Dietary Services Christy Cioni.

Meals on Wheels is a national program enabling the elderly and disabled to have nutritious meals delivered to their door each weekday. A cadre of volunteers meets and load meals to hand-deliver to participants. The national program addresses senior hunger and isolation by ensuring food is delivered to those who are unable to make or purchase their own meals.

LVMC dietary services staff prepare meals each day of the week, including an entree, starch, vegetable, dessert, salad, and beverage. There are low-sodium versions as well.

One recent week included chicken noodle casserole; chicken picatta; ham; beef stroganoff and barbecue chicken thighs. There were broccoli salad and coleslaw as a side, and brownies; tapioca; fruit salad, cake, and pudding as desserts.

The number of meals provided by the hospital has skyrocketed in the past few years. In April 2017, about 800 meals were prepared each month. In March 2018, it was up to 1,677 a month; the average is about 1,400 to 1,500 every month.

Though the cost of the meals has outpaced the fee charged to the program, the hospital is committed to providing the food.

“This is a community service we’re providing,” Christy said. “About 6 hours of staff time each day are spent cooking, cooling the food, packaging. On any given day, we have three or four employees involved in some part of Meals on Wheels.”

For more information about being a Meals on Wheels volunteer, call 805-736-3257

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Author: Jeremy Farnum, Information Systems

Jeremy works for Lompoc Valley Medical Center.