LAKEWOOD — Recently, the Dining Services Department at Harrogate, a Life Care Continuing Care Retirement Community in Ocean County, donated food and their cooking skills to assist residents at the Onyx 21 Plus Home in Toms River in preparing the community’s annual staff-resident dinner. The 21 Plus organization provides housing and training programs for people with developmental disabilities in the Toms River and Lakewood area.
“Every year we try to identify an organization that could benefit from our culinary services as a way to give back to our community,” states Michelle Low, Director of Dining Services at Harrogate. “It was a privilege to be able to share our skills with the 21 Plus residents at the Onyx home for this special occasion.”
In preparation for the dinner, Harrogate Dining Services staff members, Joe Alonzo, Executive Chef, Melissa Wagner, Dining Room Manager and Nancy Oram, Nutritional Services Manager, were partnered with an Onyx 21 Plus home resident. By assigning teams and tasks, the Onyx 21 Plus home residents received hands on training in dining and cooking techniques, and prepared a portion of the five course meal. The menu for the evening consisted of sparkling cider, tomato basil soup, spinach salad with apricot orange dressing and chicken française with roasted potatoes and broccoli oreganata. For dessert, the Harrogate/ 21 Plus team prepared a peach shortcake.
“We were very honored to have Harrogate’s Dining Services staff assist our residents with preparing this meal,” states Rebecca Carlson, Onyx Site Manager for 21 Plus. “21 Plus residents constantly work to enhance their house maintenance and cooking skills, so it meant a lot to them to be able to host such a formal dinner.”
21 Plus, which began in 1979, has 13 facilities, which includes group homes, apartments and Adult Training centers. The organization also offers employment programs and Family Support Services for people of all ages with disabilities.
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