Luncheon is ‘excellent display of teamwork,’ interim manager says
Tuesday, April 29, 2014 — Lisa Bailey
Neil MacDonald counts the recent volunteer luncheon as one of the highlights so far of his time as Frost Manor’s interim nutritional care manager.
“It is quite a special event as it is our chance to thank these wonderful people for all that they do for our home and residents,” says MacDonald, who just joined the Lindsay long-term care home in February.
“Volunteers are such an important part of our team here at Frost Manor, and it is difficult to express the amount of appreciation we have for them and the care and support they provide to our residents,” he says.
It was exhilarating to be able to express gratitude through food while showcasing his team’s skills, MacDonald says. They prepared a gourmet meal from scratch that included a dessert made from a recipe MacDonald brought from his restaurant background. The result was restaurant quality, he says, and part of what made the whole experience unique and memorable.
“Every day there’s always a highlight (working with the dietary staff) but this was a really cool event for us to showcase our skill and what we can do in the kitchen, and to give back to the volunteers because they’re such an awesome part of the team,” MacDonald says.
Approximately 40 volunteers attended the April 10 luncheon, which Frost Manor holds once a year in their honour.
MacDonald, who has also worked at another OMNI long-term care home, has seen the difference that volunteers make in residents’ lives and for staff members. They’re a great help, for example, at special dining events such as luncheons and teas, and the connections they make with residents yield social, emotional and other benefits.
“It’s incredible, because I notice when I go and talk with a resident even for just five minutes in a day, how important it is to the resident and how much it makes them happy,” MacDonald says. “So when a volunteer comes in and spends, say, an hour a week, that impacts a number of residents so much . . . And (volunteers) do such a variety of things like arts and crafts or just sitting and reading with them or singing songs . . . and it really has a positive impact because residents have that interaction, which is very needed.”
MacDonald volunteered at a summer basketball camp while in high school and found it to be a worthwhile learning experience while sharing his love of the sport. “How nice it is to pass a little bit of passion on to someone, and the same thing is shown here and the residents really appreciate the volunteers.”
In addition to a heart-felt expression of appreciation, Frost Manor’s volunteer luncheon was “an excellent display of teamwork,” MacDonald says, noting organizational, communication and other skills were vital to planning and executing the celebration.
The luncheon had the full support of the management team, who also acted as servers. MacDonald also cites life enrichment co-ordinator Vi O’Leary for bringing the whole event together and her and her team’s efforts in organizing the dining room.
The dietary team played a pivotal role in the luncheon’s success, says MacDonald, who appreciates all the support they’ve given him in the short time he’s been interim manager.
“Special thanks to my dietary department staff for helping me to prepare and present this gourmet meal and have a great time while doing it,” MacDonald says. “I could not have done it without them.”
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