January Agency Update

Kitchen:

  • We saw an increase of about 1,000 meals in January. Monica (Director of Client Services) says this is typical after the holidays. Her theory is that family visits with aging parents and reaches out for services.
  • We have had some minor equipment repairs which have been general “in the course of business” items.
  • I shouldn’t write this, for fear of a jinx, but we have only had one day of non-delivery due to weather.
  • A huge THANK YOU to the volunteers who have been answering the call for regular morning kitchen help from 700-900 a.m. We’ve had some staff shortages in the kitchen and, since they are temporary, we are trying to avoid hiring. One reason for the shortage is that Bob Adams, our assistant Food Services Manager, is a new dad. Baby Boy Adams was born last week. He’ll be out for a few weeks recovering from and adjusting to the new experience. In an agency that focuses on seniors, it’s refreshing to welcome a baby!

Client Services:

  • Our CS and Volunteer staff has been busy with nursing students this month. Students come in the morning for a general orientation, tour of kitchen operations, ride along with a meal delivery, and accompany our case managers on some client visits. This takes a lot of time from our staff but we are happy to expose the students to some real-life situations. Hopefully, they leave here more knowledgeable and prepared to serve older adults.
  • We are working with Lehigh Valley Health Network and St Luke’s University Health Network on some patient care initiatives. Essentially, we are providing post-discharge meals to certain patient populations that the hospitals feel will benefit from regular nutrition and a wellness check.

Volunteers:

  • We surveyed our volunteers on how they would like to be recognized for their work. The results were reviewed at a Volunteer Services Committee meeting on 2/3/2020. We will be following up with a consultant to conduct a small retreat to expand on some themes around volunteer involvement.
  • Look for some additions to The Weekly Bite. We heard from volunteers about a few ways we can make this weekly volunteer communication even more engaging and informative.

General Administration:

  • Work continues to move forward with the plans for the Sherman St renovation. The drawings are being finalized and budgets reviewed. We have a few months before we start actual construction. The process is moving forward as expected.
  • We have officially closed the Lehigh County office at Cedar Village. Our Operations Manager has been a packing and moving beast for the last two months. We will re-purpose the office cubicles in Sherman St. They are now in storage. We have been integrating old documents and archival materials so we have a thorough combined history. The staff from the LC office have been working at Fritch Drive since late December.
  • I am very happy that we secured a new workers’ compensation carrier. We saw a big increase about 18 months ago due to two kitchen injuries over the last three years. We took a few steps to address this: a) convened a Safety Committee, which meets regularly; and b) updated and trained staff on several safety policies, including first aid training. This paid off as our insurance broker was able to find a new policy which saved a significant amount of money, and got us off the state’s policy.
  • We have been exploring the concept of hosting a “memory café.” Moravian Senior Living would handle the programming, and we would provide the spot for it, but most likely not until we are at Sherman St. Look up this activity online, if you are interested. It’s a good way for us to extend our support to families with dementia-related illness and productively use our new space.
  • I attend a lot of community meetings. One that I found very satisfying was the Lehigh Conference of Churches Martin Luther King Day Breakfast. It was a large gathering with a powerful message. The room was filled with diverse individuals—age, race, culture, professions—which came together under Dr. King’s words.
  • We get many comments from our clients each month and almost all of them are positive about the taste, quality, and benefits of our services. Often, these comments will include the fact that the volunteers contribute to the overall experience. Here is one we just received:
    • A client called to order Chef Pack meals for himself and his wife who has an advanced dementia-related illness. The client explained to staff that he had to take over responsibility for all household functions since his wife has declined. He called to place a large Chef Pack order and raved about how fantastic these meals are. He never cooked and appreciates that they are easy to prepare and tasty. He mentioned that he tried some pre-made meals at a local grocery store but found them to be costly and not as good.