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Thanksgiving about family PDF Print E-mail
Monday, November 19, 2012 11:01 AM

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DELPHOS — When Vancrest Healthcare Center residents and their family members sat down for Thanksgiving dinner Thursday night, they shared a common bond which was much more than a fine-tuned feast with all the fixings. The “icing on the cake” was the obvious joy, pride and overall magic the celebration brought to the residents who may only see certain family members during the holiday season.

Vancrest Director Cindy Langenkamp feels a strong compassion for the residents and families and knows the holiday season is a very busy time. By hosting the dinner early, more family members who live out of town are able to see their loved ones living in the facility.

“We love the time we have with them [residents] and feel blessed to be part of their lives. Some residents are too ill or it has become too difficult for them to travel,” Lagenkamp said. “So we bring the holiday to them.”
Director of Assisted Living Rene Mueller has been very instrumental in the planning and execution of the annual event, which has become quite a tradition over the past five years. Mueller describes the event as a celebration of family and the connection they share.

“I’ve seen families extend themselves to residents that did not have relatives visiting that night. They envelop the resident with compassion, warmth and love,” Mueller spoke passionately. “All the preparation is worth every smile, every hug — we leave feeling proud of our accomplishment, feeling full and knowing we helped touch lives.”

Each resident invites 2-3 family members to join them in celebration of the traditional harvest festival and religious observances.

Organizing a plan of this magnitude is no small feat. Maria Diltz, from Medical Records, and Director of Nursing Mindy Moreland order enough invitations, tables, table clothes and silverware to accommodate 400 people months in advance. Schematics are drawn configuring the placement of furniture, serving tables, staff, volunteers and residents ensuring the safety of everyone involved.

“It’s kind of like planning a wedding,” Diltz made the comparison. “I just do what I have do to make them [residents and family] happy.”

Langenkamp described the planning of the event as a well-tuned machine. Preparations for the dinner include setting up each of the seven common areas to accommodate residents and family. St. John’s High School and Rhodes College students volunteered their time to help prepare for and serve dinner. Eighty staff members were also on duty to help with the holiday dinner.

Dietary Manager Monica French and her staff began baking turkeys early in the morning.

“We’ve prepared enough food to feed 400 people, including two Tom turkeys, 36 pounds of cranberry salad, 50 pounds of dressing, 384 slices of pumpkin pie, 30 gallons of punch and 33 dozen dinner rolls,” French detailed the menu.


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