Pine Run Retirement Village:
Creating a Memorable
Dining Experience for its
Independent Living Residents
The Dining Services at Pine Run Retirement Village in Doylestown doesn’t just prepare a meal for its independent living residents; it creates an enjoyable dining experience.
“This is a small, intimate community where we know each of our ‘villagers’ very well, so when they come here to eat, our dining room takes on a family atmosphere,” says Sharon Smith, Director of Dining Services. She recently celebrated her 32nd year working in her current position at Pine Run. Sharon, a talented chef, oversees a youthful staff of close to 100 high school and college students who keep the atmosphere happy and intergenerational.
These young people enjoy sharing their lives with senior residents. Many of these high school students will even come in to show residents their prom outfits during prom season.”
Seniors feel protective of the young staff and make sure they get home in time to finish their homework.
“This interaction truly makes our dining room feel like home,” says Sharon. “Our staff really cares; it’s not just a job to them.”
The holiday season offers another opportunity to make the dining experience at Pine Run feel special. Pumpkin dishes, eggnog, tasty ham and roast turkey are just some of the holiday staples that residents look forward to each year. In addition, specialties are planned to surprise and delight attendees at special events, including residents and community groups who hold meetings at Pine Run. During this season more than any other, Sharon elevates food into the “fun zone.”
Sharon’s warm spirit comes alive as she and the dining room chef create a vision for various events by layering flavors, colors and textures to match different themes. The biggest holiday event of the year is the Annual Winter Wonderland Party being held December 20.
“We work hard to create a festive environment by including ice carvings, illuminated Christmas trees and holiday decorations,” says Sharon. A highlight of this event is the candy cottages that Sharon has been creating for the past 20 years. Personnel from different departments at Pine Run volunteered to help decorate these candy cottages.
“These candy cottages resemble the gingerbread cottage from ‘Hansel and Gretel,’” says Sharon. Sleigh bells, snowmen and poinsettias provide the final flourishes to each display. Residents attending the Winter Wonderland Party will enjoy a large array of hors d’oeuvres, a light dinner and a special dessert.
New Year’s Eve will offer another opportunity for residents to come together to celebrate during Pine Run’s candlelit surf and turf dinner. “This evening offers a big party atmosphere with an entire night of entertainment,” says Sharon.
Enlivening events with extra touches, and especially at the holidays when emotional needs are highest, is a part of Pine Run’s service philosophy, “Make Their Day.”
“It feels wonderful to applaud our associates for their creative initiative and to see them taking pride in delivering services that are driven by the desire to make someone’s day brighter and better,” says Cathleen Stewart, Pine Run’s Executive Director.
Pine Run is a non-profit owned and operated by Doylestown Hospital since 1992. For additional information about its independent living residency, Alzheimer’s care, orthopedic rehabilitation stays or to find out about its monthly tour events, visit www.pinerun.org or call 800-992-8992.