Volunteers Boost Holiday Cheer at LeNain Hotel

Reflection on Le Nain Hotel’s Winter Holiday Celebration

Submitted by Jack Maclean, General Manager

This year the Winter Holiday Celebration was going to have residents and staff together enjoying the Holiday Meal. The lobby can only seat a maximum of 30 people, and with 75 possible resident attendants and 10 DISH and DPH staff also attending, it became clear that we would need to experiment with having two separate seatings for the meal instead of one single seating for all. In addition, with all of the staff just eating and enjoying themselves during the festivities, who could do all of the work of preparing all of the plates of food, serving the food, offering refills on food and drink, and oh yes, maybe provide some music for the residents and the non-working staff??

Le Nain Hotel’s Winter Holiday came early when two employee groups of Genentech, Inc. decided to adopt us as a volunteer project for our celebration. About an hour before the meal, seven eager and enthusiastic Genentech Systems Support Services staff showed up to assist us with the Holiday Meal. In addition, they came with a heavy burden—a gift for every Le Nain Hotel resident, donated by the South Asian Network at Genentech (SANG), an employee interest group of the corporation. The helpers from Genentech were given a tour of the building that allowed them to see the kind of units that newly housed Le Nain Hotel residents receive, and on the tour the visitors had a chance to meet with a few residents.

The Holiday Meal was soon to be upon us, so the Genentech staff separated into two groups; one group wrapped the DISH gift that was to be distributed after the meal, and the other half set to work to turn our modest kitchen into a room that would launch nearly 100 meals that day. The kitchen staff plated the food that had been catered, and the dishes that came out of the kitchen that day were just beautiful! Residents were amazed at how quickly we were all served our choices of what was offered, and soon were enjoying Christmas songs as we ate, provided by a live musician duo of the leader of the Genentech corps and a DISH Central Office staff person.

Toward the end of the meal for the first seating, a rousing Christmas carol sing-along was lead by the musicians. As all good things must come to an end, the first seating, which fed 24 residents and 6 staff members, was over and the tables were cleared for the next group of ravenous residents and staff. The second group of 19 residents and 5 staff were once again treated to choosing among beautifully arranged plates of food. The musicians started playing once more and soon the walls rang with Christmas carols. Before the Genentech staff were finished, they put together another 20 plates of food to be delivered to the folks who were shut in, or just weren’t able to attend that day.

I heard more compliments from the residents that day than I have after any other festivity or celebration. Having the wonderful assistance from Genentech this year allowed us to experiment with joining the residents during the meal and trying out a way to feed twice as many residents. The incredibly thoughtful and generous gift of personal products from the Genentech staff was greatly appreciated by all of the residents. Thanks for making this holiday a huge success!

Potential Volunteers

DISH is eager to welcome you and your colleagues to volunteer with us! We have had many wonderful volunteers through the years–individuals and corporate groups–who have helped with holiday celebrations, spring cleaning events, and other important work around the DISH sites. If you are interested in “adopting a building” and volunteering at a DISH site, contact DISH Operations Manager, John Mark Stratford: [email protected].

Published on January 17, 2011