Heart Warming Celebrations

February was full of heart-warming events.  From Punxsutawney Phil’s prediction of six more weeks of winter, resident events and BeWell demonstrations at Cedar Creek and Menno Haven, to capturing the hearts of staff at Holy Redeemer and Rush Foundation and Specialty Hospitals, Cura turns the doldrums of winter into colorful, festive and heart-healthy celebrations!

Since a traditional “Ground Hog” Day could not be held due to the pandemic, the Cura team at Punxsutawney Area Hospital in Punxsutawney, PA, created this cool promotion to engage medical staff!


The Think Spring” or “Six More Weeks of Winter” prediction promotion was created by Nettie Albohali, general manager, with help from Ron Burkhardt, Cura director of dining services at Punxsutawney, where they packaged a variety of winter or spring desserts including a groundhog cookie and hot chocolate mixes!  Medical staff and guests were able to purchase giving them the opportunity to choose (and wish) what they wanted!  Nettie, who is also the general manager of dining at Indiana Regional Medical Center, adapted this idea from Indiana!

At Holy Redeemer Hospital in Meadowbrook, PA, Cura shared their passion for culinary with a Valentine’s themed inspired menu to lift the spirits of our healthcare workers at Holy Redeemer’s Meadowbrook campus café.

According to John Martinelli, Cura director of retail and catering, “This is part of our monotony breakers in the café.  Especially during the pandemic, our medical staff need a place for respite, to unwind and just enjoy some time away from their responsibilities.  It’s our way of saying ‘thank you’ for all their hard work!”

This isn’t the first time Martinelli and his staff have provided a special event in the café.  An all-chocolate pop-up action station was recently created as something different and “sweet” to supplement guests’ lunch, while increasing the average price per transaction by 12%.  “The objective of the chocolate action station was to celebrate National Chocolate Day.   Due to popular demand, the chocolate action station returned where customers were tempted with several kinds of handmade chocolate covered strawberries, cheesecakes with assorted toppings, and a triple chocolate truffle cake.”

A Valentine’s breakfast featured a ‘Don’t Go Bacon My Heart’ with three heart-shaped pancakes and bacon strips, served with a small coffee or juice.  The lunch hour offered specials to the standard menu including a Marry Me Chicken Special, a special chicken creation along with a heart-shaped shrimp kabob.

Rush Foundation and Specialty Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi, repurposed their salad bar for Valentine’s Day.   According to District Manager Jonathon Robinson, the salad bar has been closed since COVID.  “Since it’s the first station you see upon entering the cafeteria, our team uses the salad as a way to showcase grab-and-go foods and holiday specialty items.” Renee Jennings, a 25-year veteran baker, prepared homemade red velvet cupcakes, brownies with red icing, sugar cookies with red and white sprinkles, and vanilla cupcakes.

A unique dinner was served to independent residents at the Life Center Grille at Menno Haven in Chambersburg, PA.  Residents enjoyed a

  • Seafood Stew – A Generous Portion of Cod Fish, Clams, Shrimp, Crab, & Tomato’s in a rich Saffron infused Seafood Stock. Served with Grilled Sourdough. 
  • Surf and Turf Slider Combo – One Mini Lobster Roll with Lobster, Mayo, Celery, & Old Bay Seasoning, alongside a Mini Beef Wellington Sandwich with Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Wild Mushroom Dijon Blend, & Gruyere Cheese. 
  • Citrus Asparagus & Pistachio Salad.
  • Red Velvet Whoopi Pies and Chocolate Covered Strawberries  

During a recent lunch, Cura surprised patients at Allegheny Health Network Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills, PA, with get-well cards added to their trays compliments and drawn by the k-8 students at St. Louise de Marillac School in Upper St Clair! What a nice way to show care and compassion to our patients, and extremely artistic children!

Happy Fat Tuesday from Allegheny Health Network Allegheny Valley Hospital in Natrona Heights, PA, where Baker Mary Coward treats us all to Paczki (Polish doughnuts) baked fresh on premises with a variety of fillings including cream, chocolate, apricot and raspberry!

We can’t forget about our BeWell demonstrations.  Greg Andrews, director of dining services, and Jill Johnson, wellness registered dietitian, recently hosted their monthly BeWell demonstration at Cedar Creek Senior Living in East Bethel, MN.  The New Year, New You featured almond, cherries, sea salt & dark chocolate bark. It was a delicious success for our sweet loving residents!