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Fresh meals served twice weekly for seniors at a hard-to-beat price

If you are a senior 55 and older and have not tried the dinners served at the Senior Supper Club at Fauquier Hospital’s restaurant, the Bistro, you are missing out on an awesome economical treat.

Zach Erickson, director of food and nutrition services for Fauquier Hospital, initiated the dinners last November for a good reason. He explained, “We felt the senior population was underserved with affordable meal options and did not have adequate fresh food.”

Fauquier Hospital is making great strides in the use of fresh produce, not only at the Bistro, but in its service to patients as well. The hospital staff believes it will better the health of all concerned. So, dinners served at the Senior Supper Club, aside from being tasty, guarantee fresh ingredients.

Bull Run photo
A group of seniors enjoys a recent evening meal at the Senior Supper Club at Fauquier Hospital (Courtesy photo)>

Senior Supper Club dinners are served on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The cost is $4.50. and includes a variety of choice meals. Seniors may select stir fry made with fresh vegetables of their choice, or fajitas also made to their liking. In addition there is an entrée choice. Each meal may be accompanied by fresh fruit, homemade soup or salad from a salad bar offering a variety of choices.

Erickson stated, “It has worked very well. The real measure of success comes with the patron. Regular customers come. It’s their night out. There is a social aspect. They are enjoying food and making friends. Sometimes we have entertainment such as a piano player.”

Chef Tony DeWalt is in complete agreement with Erickson. He is also a proponent of using as much fresh food and produce as possible.
DeWalt explained his role in being the head chef of Fauquier Hospital as a task he takes to heart. He noted, “I’ve been a chef for over 25 years. Here I make a point to get out and see the patients we serve.” He said that each patient is given an extensive menu and lets the hospital staff know what he or she likes.

Said DeWalt, “The food is fresh including the soups that are made from scratch. All the herbs are out of the hospital garden. We do purchase some items from the Farmer’s Market and have some local produce delivered. We even use local beef.”

The Fauquier Hospital kitchen has been newly renovated and according to DeWalt “is very nice.” Some 38 people work in the dining department. Chef DeWalt prides himself in being a graduate of the Culinary School in Bethesda called La Academic de Cuisine.
Both Erickson and DeWalt see the hospital as being a part of the community and go to great lengths to make that happen. De Walt also noted that it helps to be working in a smaller hospital (97 beds) because “we are more agile and have more flexibility.”

People come to eat at the Tuesday/Thursday dinners for various reasons. Erickson said, “Some seniors come whose loved ones have passed away here, and they have developed a fondness for the hospital and return here¬–making it a positive experience for all.”
Throughout the eating area during the particular mealtime I visited, there were individual diners, couples dining and large groups of people eating the meal together. All seemed pleased with the experience.

Robin Earl, PR specialist for Fauquier Health said, “We’ve been serving 90-100 meals twice a week for the last several months.”

Carol Hereford of Warrenton explained how she came to be a patron of such fine dining. She offered, “A friend told me about it. I’ve been coming since March. This is great food with a large variety of choices. The staff is very friendly and helpful. I have met people and currently am trying to get a group from my church to come.”

Charlie McGinnis and his wife, Mary, of Warrenton, were more than glad to be enjoying the dining experience. Charlie McGinnis said, “I used to be a volunteer here and saw information about the dinners in the paper. It is excellent. We usually come once a week on Thursday.”

Barbara Peyton was seated with her husband, Howard, and some other friends. She explained, “I heard about the dinners from a friend and also saw something in the newspaper. The food is very good, especially the chicken and turkey.
Jean Beecroft of Warrenton said, “I try to come every Thursday. I learned about the dinners from the AARP. I am sitting with some of my neighbors.”

Helen Lewis, who is originally from Germany, but now lives in New Baltimore was sitting with her friend, Nancy Noack of Warrenton. Lewis stated, “I saw something about it in the newspaper and came. There is such a variety-something for everyone!”

Noack offered, “I volunteer at the hospital and heard about the dinners by word of mouth. The food is delicious and I especially like the fajitas.”

Carolyn Johnson of Warrenton, who was sitting with a friend and planned to look at the hospital vegetable garden later, stated, “It’s a good thing and it gets lots of seniors together. It’s a nice place to have a meal and meet people.”

Erickson noted that currently the meals are subsidized by three sponsors. The sponsors include The Middleburg Bank; Cleansing Water, Inc., a private home health care agency; and Unidine, a food management company and proponent of fresh food being used to promote good health.

For more information at Fauquier Hospital’s Senior Supper Club, contact Zach Erickson at 540-316-2605 or by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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