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Dining Services staff put a little love into every dish

For the members of the Dining Services staff at Emporia Presbyterian Manor, preparing meals for the residents is more than just a job, it’s a passion.

Dining Services Director Jess Goodwin, who has been at the community for 11 years, credits her own longevity to her love of the residents who she calls “the best part of my day” and to the community’s leadership team.

“(Executive Director Susan Siepelmeier) and the other directors are a blast to work with and I have learned a lot from them,” said Jess.

Jess’ seniority among the Dining Services staff also means that she is able to pass on her skills and love for the community to newer members.

“Being here for so many years, I now get to teach and help others grow like I was able to,” said Jess.  

Among those benefiting from Jess’ experience and exuberance is Jasmine Walker.

“I absolutely love and adore all of our residents—I have talked to and learned many things from each one of them,” said Jasmine. “I love the fact that I get to cook their food and serve it to them. They have lived their busy lives already, so I am more than happy to help serve them as they live out the rest of their lives. These residents fill my days with joy and happiness—I would never want that to change.”

Currently, Jess, Jasmine and the rest of the Dining Services team are cooking up some new recipes they hope to add to the community’s menu this spring.

“I can't give away too much, as it is still in the works, but we are working on adding more high-end entrees and adding more healthier choices to the menu,” said Jess.

For those wondering if any of those menu items will utilize Jess’s talent for baking, you’ll just have to wait and see. Either way, it sounds like she won’t be turning off her oven anytime soon.

“Baking has always been my happy place and a creative outlet for me,” said Jess. “I think making and sharing my desserts is a way to spread joy to people. A recipe is only a recipe until someone comes along and puts their passion and love into, then you have something special—people can taste that it's made that way!”

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