Highland Community Hospital in Picayune, Miss., has been partnering with Christian Cares Ministries since 2012, preparing lunches five days a week for delivery to the housebound elderly and families in the area.
The hospital’s foodservice team, managed by Cura Hospitality, packs up the same meals as those served in the retail cafe or to patients. Its Highland Cafe also serves as the “heartbeat" of the town—a neighborhood restaurant in a community dominated by fast food outlets, says Lauren Foley, Cura’s operations support manager at the hospital.
“We have scratch-made Blue Plate Specials five days a week for $6.20,” she says. “It’s one of the most affordable options in the area, and even with inflation, our pricing has remained steady.”
Wednesdays are fried chicken day, one of the favorites, and on Fridays, gumbo is the menu feature. “We get a 50-50 mix of employees and visitors in the cafe,” says Foley. “On gumbo day, some people buy five or six bowls, eat one for lunch and take the others home.” The cafe feeds about 220 people daily.
Christian Cares Ministries delivers either these same meals to the housebound, paying Highland Community Hospital $3.95 per meal. Dietary Aide Willie Williams plates the meals to make sure they meet the specs of the recipients, some of whom are diabetic or have other dietary restrictions.
It’s a win-win for Cura, the hospital and Christian Care Ministries.
“We’re not making a whole separate menu for the [delivery] program, so we don’t need extra labor,” says Foley. And folks who can’t get out to shop or cook get nourishing meals five days a week.