February 22, 2023
When community starts in the kitchen

Every day is different for Berely, the kitchen supervisor at LOFT’s John Gibson House. John Gibson House provides specialized supportive housing and personalized care to vulnerable older adults with complex needs.

Berely uses her creativity and planning skills to ensure 130 nutritious meals are prepared daily for residents at John Gibson House and other LOFT programs. She is kept on her toes, watching out for dietary restrictions, ensuring proper food labelling, and coordinating deliveries.

Berely has also been trying to manage recent food price increases in various ways. This includes using what’s already in stock, cooking only what’s needed, buying seasonal produce, and searching for lower prices.

Her team consists of staff and volunteers who help to prep the food. “It gets busy in the kitchen, so it’s really helpful to have volunteers.”

Aside from daily routines, special occasions call for detailed planning that starts a month beforehand. Everyone at John Gibson House is invited to events like summer barbecues and holiday celebrations, and everyone knows to expect some great meals.

After fifteen years at LOFT, Berely feels she’s honed the skill of being more in tune with people. “During the pandemic, clients didn’t have anyone who could visit them. I saw how this affected residents, so I’ve learned how important it is to check up on them.”

She loves engaging with clients and providing them with the foods they like to eat. “I enjoy doing what I do because every day is different. I find happiness in the residents. When they see me, they have big smiles on their faces.” When you can’t find Berely in the kitchen, you might be able to find her pursuing her love of travel, especially to her favourite place — Cuba. Berely’s leadership will continue to warm the hearts – and stomachs – of many in the upcoming year.