Maryann Ritzel doesn’t do what she does for recognition. As a Certified Dietary Manager (CDM) and Certified Food Protection Professional (CFPP) at Sharon Towers, she’s more concerned with results than accolades. However, if the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has had any positive effect, it has shone a bright light on the importance of the work people like Maryann do.
“Everyday Heroes” Recognition
Recently, Maryann was recognized on the Association of Nutrition & Foodservice Professionals (ANFP) website with their “Everyday Heroes” article for February 2021. The monthly feature spotlights exceptional people and their work in the foodservice industry. Though she had heard of the industry appreciation, she was surprised to receive it.
“It’s an honor,” she says. “But everyone on the team really cares a lot about what they do. We all want to work hard and perform as a team. A lot of times, it’s the small things that seem to matter the most.”
Little Things Matter
Like crispy bacon and hot coffee. The way the culinary services team has to deliver the food during the pandemic has caused logistical challenges. But Maryann’s team is up to the task. Including delighting a healthcare resident recently with perfectly crisped bacon and piping hot coffee which got the day started on a high note in the way that only a satisfying breakfast can. “She said that it made her day,” Maryann shared. “It’s a small thing. But the small things matter.”
The Challenges of COVID-19
Managing food delivery to healthcare residents in normal times can be stressful. Timing is crucial – as is teamwork. With pandemic restrictions, they have the same amount of food to deliver but with fewer servers in order to minimize contact for residents. However, Maryann is proud of how her team rose to the challenge. “Nutritious food is important,” she says. “But so is safety.”
More Than Food
In a time when the social circles of healthcare residents have shrunk due to the pandemic, the interactions with Maryann and her team are more important than ever.
“We play a big role (with healthcare residents),” Maryann says. “Since they don’t have a lot of visitors, they interact a lot with staff. We hear about their lives and share our own stories with them. Especially now. And the food we serve them brings back memories. Like Sunday dinners and holidays. They count on us and we’re there for them.”
A Message of Caring
When asked what is important for people to know about the work she and her team does, Maryann doesn’t hesitate. “We really care,“ she says. “We want to be sure the residents are happy.”
Please join us in congratulating Maryann on her well-deserved recognition.
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