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Hudson Valley Press

January 1st, 2014

Agreement Establishes Centralized Kitchen for Senior Dining Program

Orange Ulster BOCES Superintendent William Hecht and County Executive Edward A. Diana signed the agreement to establish the centralized kitchen at BOCES’s new location at the Arden Hill campus. Joining them are members of the team who helped make the project a reality – Lilly Abbamonte, Ann Marie Maglione, Deborah Heppes, Danielle Diana Smith Chris Viebrock and back row John McCarey, Charles Lee, and Mark Coleman.
GOSHEN – Orange County Executive Edward A. Diana and William Hecht, District Superintendent for Orange Ulster BOCES, signed an agreement this week to establish a centralized kitchen for the County’s Office for the Aging’s (OFA) senior dining and home-delivered meals program. The kitchen will be located at BOCES’s new location at the former Arden Hill Hospital campus and will allow for cross-generational programs and training between OFA staff and BOCES students and expansion of the County’s already successful senior dining program.

The new state-of-the-art centralized kitchen will allow OFA to consolidate a number of its smaller kitchens located throughout the County and allow the agency to service more clients. The old hospital’s existing kitchen was used as the starting point for construction and renovation. It will include equipment that will allow the agency to modernize its meal preparation such as cook-chill technology that will enable the food preparers to cook in advance and flash-freeze meals while preserving the nutrients, taste, and healthy benefits of the meal.

“For many years now, we’ve recognized that the Office for the Aging’s senior dining program would benefit from a centralized kitchen to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of our meal preparation. The location at BOCES’s Arden Hill campus was the perfect spot and will be a benefit to the school’s programs as well as OFA,” said County Executive Diana. “Many people worked very hard to make this project a reality.”

The County’s senior dining program currently serves 900 clients daily and has a waiting list of more than 100 senior citizens. The establishment of the new kitchen will eliminate the waiting list and ultimately allow for the preparation of 2,000 meals a day which forecasts indicate will be needed by the year 2030.

“This is a great partnership for BOCES,” said Superintendent Hecht. “We look forward to working with the County and OFA to provide inter-generational programs, as well as healthy meals, for both our students and the senior residents in our community.”

The new food preparation technology, storage, and freezer capacity will also allow OFA to work with local farmers to incorporate local produce into the dining program.

“This is a dream come true for the senior dining program,” said OFA Director Ann Marie Maglione. “It will allow us to eliminate our waiting list and even be better for unforeseen forecasts like bad weather or a local crisis. It has been a delight to work with the BOCES team and we look forward to the on-going opportunities for partnership between the students and our seniors. This is just the beginning of great things to come.”

The kitchen is anticipated to be operational in spring 2014.

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