Cota's New Catering Service at our Short-Term Residential Beds Program (Safe Beds)

In fiscal year 2017-18, the Short-Term Residential Beds (STRB) team began offering breakfast, a light lunch, and dinner seven days a week at no charge to the individuals receiving our services. The introduction of this food program contributes to our strategic priority to improve food security at locations across the organization.

New Catering Service at Cota's Safe Beds location
New Catering Service at Cota's Safe Beds location

Meal preparation was mainly handled by Cota staff and the program also received donations from Second Harvest. During that year, staff at the STRB program asked individual service users to fill out satisfaction surveys to help Cota measure the quality of the program. The results demonstrated that the program needed greater improvements.

Staff from the Safe Beds Team
Staff from the Safe Beds Team

In 2018-19, the STRB team identified that while preparing fresh meals was important nutritionally, it was also hindering them from spending quality time providing needed supports to clients. Therefore the team shifted gears this year in several ways:

  • The seven-day-menu breakfast program has transitioned into a daily serving of cereal, toast, fruit and coffee or tea to reduce time spent on meal prep
  • Lunch sandwiches are prepared in advance by the overnight staff (thank you for all that you do!) and served fresh the next day with a snack. Clients also have the ability to take their lunch with them should they have appointments in the community.
  • And dinners are provided by the new catering service seven days a week! The dinners rotate on a 28-day schedule and accommodate dietary preferences such as vegan, halal, and gluten free.
  • Second Harvest donations are still welcome benefits and often contribute to snacks provided to clients in between meals

Since the implementation of this new program, Ryan (Manager, Community Health Services) has happily reported that there have been zero food complaints. One individual staying at the STRB said,

Chef Al and Manager Ryan, New Catering Service at Cota's Safe Beds location
Chef Al and Ryan (Manager, STRB Program)

I like the variety of food that is being offered and that it’s in its own container.

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