Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center Prepares Meals for Five Secaucus Families
In an effort to give back to the community, Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center is cooking and providing meals for families in need throughout the town of Secaucus.
Meadowlands Hospital currently sponsors five Secaucus families and will soon add five more to their delivery list.
Gerano and Terecita Vedar, of Secaucus, are among the families who are receiving help from Meadowlands Hospital. They frequently work aiding senior citizens in their community and volunteer at Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center as Eucharistic Ministers, giving communion to sick patients.
However, Gerano and Terecita have had difficulty in this economy finding steady and reliable work, making it difficult for them to make ends meet paying for their 21-year-old daughter’s college tuition and 13-year-old son’s school supplies.
"Sometimes we have jobs and sometimes we don’t," said Terecita. "The food we have been receiving has helped so much with our budget. My family and I love the food and it’s also healthy because every day there is dish with vegetables, meat or fish and it also tastes good. We are very happy that we are included with this program and feel very lucky."
Mrs. Vedar hopes to one day show her appreciation for the hospital and staff.
"I would very much like to meet the owners of the hospital so I can thank them personally for including my family in this program," she said. "I would tell them how much this program helps people who really need it."
Ryan Sullivan, Director of Dietary Department and Head Chef of the hospital, along with his cooks, whip up dishes of chicken parmesan, penne pasta with vodka sauce, rotisserie chickens and rice pilaf. Every day the meals are then loaded into a Meals-on-Wheels van, donated from the hospital to the town of Secaucus, and delivered right to the family’s doorstep.
Sullivan also prepares special holiday meals such as Thanksgiving turkeys, salmon dishes and chicken francese for the winter holidays.
"From the top down everyone believes this is a wonderful thing," said Sullivan. "It’s a great opportunity for us to help people in their time of need whether it be financial or health-related. It is a very rewarding experience to be able to give back to the community."
During the holidays, Secaucus Mayor Gonnelli personally delivers meals prepared by the hospital.
"He is a real humanitarian," said Sullivan. "He calls me personally to make sure the families are well taken care of. He really takes an interest in the community, especially the hospital and those in need. The hospital and the mayor have a great synergy."
Sullivan and his crew also prepare 20 portions of food delivered to senior citizen housing throughout the town. In addition to providing food to families, the Meadowlands Hospital cafeteria is free to all patients, staff and visitors.
"They are outstandingly generous to provide free food and 24-hour visiting hours with no charge for parking," said Anthony Aiello, Eucharistic minister and spiritual advisor for the Hospital. "They have been instrumental in reaching out to the community. Not only do they prepare the food but they also deliver right to their home."