Aurora Healthcare foodservices reaches out via partnership with visiting nurses.
The food management operation at Aurora Health Care system in Milwaukee actually extends beyond the confines of the individual hospital sites and into the surrounding community, thanks to a longstanding partnership with the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA). The partnership involves two Aurora sites preparing selections for area mobile meal programs — over 350,000 a year in total. “We're a middleman and distributor,” says Mary Ehlers, regional manager for food management. “We give the meals at cost to VNA, and they market and sell them.”
The program is more extensive than many similar ones in that clients have significant choice — 16 in all, including modified diet alternatives and the ability to honor client food preferences. The meals are prepared and delivered hot during the weekdays and frozen for weekends. The Aurora kitchens also turn out bulk food for congregate meal sites.
The weekend frozen entrees are sourced from a local vending company, assembled at the Aurora sites with sides and beverages, and then delivered by VNA.
Other community relations initiatives include partnerships with local charities and participation in community events. The Aurora Chefs Club, a semi-formal association of the system's culinarians to encourage collaboration and collegiality, also has a community relations component, with the chefs lending their talents to fundraisers and other events, such as the annual Vince Lombardi Award of Excellence Food and Wine Dinner Ball, which raises funds for cancer research at Aurora's Vince Lombardi Cancer Clinic at Aurora St. Lukes Medical Center.