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St. Michael’s Food Services team, more than just in-patient meals

Toronto, December 15, 2015

By Heather Brown

Alvin Hoang packs meals
Alvin Hoang, a food service worker, packs meals for the Community Food Service Program. (Photo by Yuri Markarov)

St. Michael’s Food Services Department is a busy place filled with delectable aromas and never-ending activity. On an average day more than 1,200 patient meals are prepared over the course of breakfast, lunch and dinner. But the food service team does not stop there.

As part of its Community Food Service Program, the chefs also cook meals for a number of community organizations in the downtown core, including Meals on Wheels, The Second Mile Club and the Dixon Hall Neighbourhood Services.

In a separate section of the kitchen from where the patient meals are prepped and assembled, a small team of people dish out and package the community meals that have been prepared by the chefs on the other side of the kitchen. The assembled meals are taken to the hospital’s loading dock for delivery to clients downtown, in most cases seven days a week.

For the Meals on Wheels program alone, 80 meals are prepared during the week and 60 meals on the weekend. The menus change as the seasons change. Meals include a hot and cold selection daily. Clients may also order an additional cold lunch option, which includes a sandwich, drink and dessert to supplement their evening meal. St. Michael’s is one of only two hospitals in the Greater Toronto Area to provide this service to the community.

   
Did you know? The Community Food Service Program uses 227 loaves of bread, 253 containers of yogurt and prepares more than 6,323 meals a week.

“The Community Food Service Program is a great way to provide regular meals to our clients who are unable to cook for themselves or need assistance with their meals,” said Melani Ragnitz, the manager of Food Services. “Although the community agencies pay St. Michael’s for the meals, knowing that our efforts provide our clients in need with a nutritious meal, is a motivating factor for us to continue to provide this program to our community.”

In addition to the Community Food Service Program, the team also provides food to internal stakeholders, such as St. Michael’s Withdrawal Management Service. The clients in this program benefit from a hot dinner every day as well as sandwiches for lunch and groceries to be used for breakfast each day.

About St. Michael's Hospital

St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.