Holy cow it’s been a week. My pedometer read over 17,000 steps for about three days in a row – I was not working out, I was gearing up for the grand opening of the Lawlis Family Hospice, Horizon’s newly renovated in patient unit in Mequon. Aside from last minute sink replacements, TV wiring fiascos and locks being on the wrong side of doors, I was in charge of making sure our donors had a wonderful experience during the ribbon-cutting, and out volunteers, staff and community were given a warm and delicious welcome.

What I discovered this week was that there is a huge misconception of “hospital food” and the chefs who prepare it. I was lucky enough to work with the incredible catering staff at Columbia St. Mary’s Ozaukee Hospital, and they blew my mind not only with the quality of their product, but with the presentation and staff support they provided.

Our first event was a luncheon for about 40 people who were so excited to see the unit they made possible for the first time.

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When I placed my order, I asked for sandwiches, pasta salad, veggies and fruit. Here’s what they came up with. Delicious traditional sandwiches using pretzel buns and focaccia, a variety of wraps, melon, berries, pineapple and the veggie platter even included jicama – I’d call that above and beyond.

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I kid you not – this dessert tray was devoured. Profiteroles, truffles, tarts and macaroons delighted our guests, offered bite sized treats. Also, a plug for Nestle Tollhouse bake and serve cookies – we have a new oven in the unit kitchen, and made cookies to create a sensory experience. The kids (and let’s be honest, adults too) were lined up waiting for these to come out of the oven.

Our evening event included Trader Joe’s wine and a great spread of cheese, a variety of four sausages, more fruit and veggies, a really spectacular pepper hummus…and more cookies. As you can see, this is not what you’d expect from a hospital catering service. I really appreciate the attention to detail that was given to our special events. This week was a landmark for Horizon. The new hospice is going to touch a lot of lives and make a really difficult time a little bit easier for so many people. The celebration was just a starting point for something very, very important. I’m so proud to be a part of this.

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