Christian Health Care Center (CHCC) in Wyckoff has been serving a traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings for residents and their families on Thanksgiving Day for the past 20 years. About 80 Heritage Manor Nursing Home residents and their family members gather each year in the Auditorium, which is transformed into a beautiful dining room, and enjoy a delicious meal and quality time together. The Thanksgiving dinner is prepared under the guidance of John Castrignano, Executive Chef for Heritage Manor Nursing Home and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), in Hyde Park, NY.
This Thanksgiving, Heritage Manor resident Joan Hagemann welcomed 17 of her family members, tall and small. What does it mean to Mrs. Hagemann to have her family together for the holiday?
“It’s a big deal,” said her son Bob Hagemann. “We really enjoy coming here. I attended CHCC’s recent Centenarian celebration, and the chef served a wonderful luncheon. You do such a great job here and are such a big part of the community.”
Mrs. Hagemann’s daughter, Mary Lynne Seitz, concurred: “This is awesome and so much fun, and the food is great. My mother loves all the meals here and says everything is delicious.”
“We love to offer the opportunity to bring families and residents together,” said Peter Peterson,
LNHA, Heritage Manor Nursing Home/Southgate Vice President and Administrator. “Thanksgiving is a cherished time meant to be spent with family and friends, and we make every effort to make that happen at Christian Health Care Center.”
Heritage Manor is not the only residence on campus to enjoy delicious meals prepared by talented chefs. The Longview Assisted Living Residence at CHCC also has an Executive Sous Chef who is a CIA graduate. Frank Poveromo and his staff made sure that Longview residents also had a special meal on Thanksgiving. Mr. Poveromo is well respected by his peers, who recently nominated him for the Health Care Association of New Jersey’s Caregiver of the Year Award.
“Frank is very personable and is never tucked away in the kitchen for long,” said Pamela Rooney, CALA, CTRS, ADC, Longview Administrator. “He regularly facilitates a ‘Dining Diary’ meeting with residents to explore their menu options and makes sure to ask each resident, individually and in private, if he/she has any special requests and follows up with those requests, often incorporating new items on the menu. He is also quick to make special accommodations. For example, a resident with Celiac disease needed a gluten-free diet. Within the first few weeks of living at Longview, she praised Frank, explaining that she never had such a variety in her life given her dietary limitations!”
Hillcrest Residence independent living was created for seniors who are in good health and want to maintain their independence, but also find comfort in knowing that assistance is close by if needed. Each resident enjoys a private studio with the benefit of shared, restaurant-style dining, planned group activities, and the security of 24-hour staff presence in this “pre-assisted living” option. Hillcrest residents also enjoy an exceptionally talented chef that goes above and beyond to please them. Vincent Di Pasquale was recently honored for 15 years of dedicated service at CHCC’s 23rd Annual Service Awards Banquet.
“Vinny is the one and only Chef in Building 4, said Mary Mariconda, CTRS, Hillcrest Director and Christian Health Care Adult Day Services of Wyckoff. “That means he not only cooks for Hillcrest residents, but also prepares the main meal for the clients downstairs. That equals about 80 to 90 noon- time meals per day. Then he prepares 35 supper meals! What is unique about Vinny’s position is that he also does all of his own prep work. Just this morning I witnessed Vinny trimming chicken, washing lettuce, dicing tomatoes, steaming broccoli, making gravy, mashing potatoes, making jello, baking chicken, stirring soup, putting away his food inventory, slicing ham, organizing his freezer, seasoning fish, mixing tuna salad, making bread pudding, and stewing tomatoes. And that was all done before 10 a.m.! One of our residents commented that Vinny’s warm personality makes him not only our Chef, but a friend to all!”
In addition to providing meals to residents on campus, CHCC lends a hand to the community by participating in Meals On Wheels. The meals are prepared in the main kitchen and delivered to homebound residents by community volunteers. Last year the Center provided nearly 16,000 meals for seniors in our area. Volunteers deliver daily meals to residents in Wyckoff, Mahwah, Ramsey, Franklin Lakes, and Saddle River.
For more information about Heritage Manor Nursing Home, The Longview Assisted Living Residence, Hillcrest Residence, Christian Health Care Adult Day Services, or Meals On Wheels, call (201) 848-4463 or visit ChristianHealthCare.org.