The nearly completed $160,000 kitchen and dining enhancement project at Providence Benedictine Nursing Center means more than just a better way to prepare and serve food.

The improvements bring a higher quality of life for residents, patients, visitors and employees. Funded by grants and generous donor support, new commercial grade stainless steel equipment allows for much better quality of food preparation. Grants from the Larry & Jeanette Epping Fund at Salem Foundation and the Bob Fessler Family Fund helped support the project. A board member’s company, GEM Equipment, generously custom designed, manufactured, donated and installed $74,000 in kitchen equipment.

“Thank you to everyone who made this transformation possible to better serve our residents, patients and visitors,” says Emily Dazey, executive director, Providence Benedictine. “Everyone put their hearts into this effort, and it shows.”

The kitchen and dining enhancement project included: a redesign to improve workflow; a plate warmer system, a cold foods system, and insulated delivery carts that provide capacity for over 250 room service meals a day; new stainless-steel fixtures, including a dishwashing line to reduce repetitive stress injuries for kitchen employees, countertops, service staging area in the dining room, central beverage island, and shelving for made-to-order meals; and air conditioning for the dining room.

“The donations we received though the foundation have greatly improved our quality of service and efficiency in the kitchen,” says dietary aide Chaz White. “Our new large coolers and mini freezer provide quick access to what we need and allow us to keep our ice cream cold.”

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