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A Matter of Fact

It is a matter of fact. 

Like any other family home across America, the kitchen is the busiest—and dare one say—the most important place at the entire Ruth M Smith Center.   Not only is the Center’s kitchen a busy and important spot, but it also poses several of the most costly and challenging aspects of the Center’s ministry.

Here are the facts:

  • 29,565 meals are prepared annually from a small kitchen located in the Center’s A Building.

  • The annual food budget is $95,600.  Weekly cost:  $1800.00.

  • Most meals are homemade rather than processed, prepackaged offerings.

  • Hamburgers, pizza, and spaghetti are the residents’ most popular meals.   (Eight large pizzas are required to feed the residents and on-duty staff at a single meal.)

  • Residents may choose the menu on one’s birthday.

  • Food preparation must follow the regulations of the Department of Human Services.  Posting menus at least 2 weeks in advance, one of their regulations, allows for both good planning and resident awareness.

  • Menus are prepared by the Center’s food manager/cook, but residents share their ideas.

The Center’s food manager/cook has a most challenging job.  That, too, is an important fact. The cook orders the food and supplies within the constraints of the budget.  Upon arrival, the food and supplies must be taken to the freezers and shelving located in the basemen.  This is due to lack of first floor space.  For daily meal preparation, then, the food and supplies are retrieved from the basement and delivered to the small kitchen where preparation begins—with consideration given to dietary needs of the residents.  (Fact:  The small kitchen was built over 50 years ago to serve only the 8-10 occupants of that particular building.)  Finally, the cook is responsible for delivering by cart the meals to the residential buildings—a daunting task during inclement weather.  All this is done according to DHS regulations. 

And, of course, there are more facts:  40 gallons of milk per week are necessary and 15 loaves of bread.  Each day 3 gallons each of lemonade and sweet tea are consumed; 100 pots of coffee are made each week.  And eggs?  Well, 9 dozen will work most weeks.  What about leftovers?  According to DHS rules, they may be used for 3 days and then discarded. 

It is easy to see why the kitchen is a busy and important place!

There is a final fact needing mentioned:  The RMSC thankfully receives gifts of food, supplies, and prepared meals from community organizations and individuals.  The First Methodist Church in Warren recently donated 54 bags of food.  The Sheffield Fire Department and the Knights of Columbus, and local churches and Bible Study groups contribute meals and money—most often at special occasions or holidays like Thanksgiving.

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