Friday, April 25, 2008

GLWD Final Words

April 4th
On this day, I had the opportunity to ride on the van doing delivery through the lower, mid and upper west side. I had the pleasure of riding with Fred—our route was packed with traffic, but nonetheless, Fred was able to efficiently navigate through the streets and organized the deliveries so that we were never jetting up and downtown. We began at 8:30/9 and ended at 2:30. There were three testing times.
At 8:45: HOT MEAL: 115F; FROZEN MEAL: 22F
11AM: HOT MEAL: 130F (Due to the heat of the van, the heating device ranges from 173-180F and can heat up the meals as the van remains running. As soon as the van is turned off, Fred said he notices that the temperature of the vessel will drop).
2:15PM: HOT MEAL: 140F

A MAJOR problem that I saw was that the soups at the very bottom of the insulated tub had to be tossed. Fred says that the bottom line of soups always have their tops crushed. You lose about 10 soups per 40 soup tub, and so 10 people are not getting soup. All in all, it was a very good run. I enjoyed getting to know Fred—it seems like he really cares for this organization and has been enjoying his position. He only started one month ago but has the intentions of staying with the organization since the people are so nice. He mentioned that he thought it was odd that a Brooklyn boy like himself (who “…knows the borough like the back of his hand”) was placed in Manhattan and a “Bronx-guy” was placed in Bklyn. He also thought that if a driver had longer hours and wanted to cut them, while another driver wanted to extend his/hers, then perhaps hours can be dispersed more equally so that one person does not have a 10 hr shift while another only gets six.

Additionally, it seems that drivers are wary of getting a ticket. It seems that it would be VERY EASY to get a ticket since those streets are always very crowded, and since there is always lots of running out of the van, leaving it running, and double-parked. But there is really no other option, unless the vans have a GLWD emblem on the side, whereby Policemen may be more lenient. Fred never received a ticket but he seemed nervous about it throughout our journey together.

April 13th, 2008
GLWD ORIENTATION: What was interesting to me was that I had the orientation later on versus earlier in my practicum—and I must say that it was nice to go through it, knowing so much already about GLWD. The video was very motivational and inspiring. It was also nice to get the history without reading about it on the website. It seems that even the other volunteers are all very willing to help and have very selfless mindsets. This is essential for this organization to survive, so I see why the volunteers are lauded so.

April 21st, 2008
I did delivery at the Aurora Food Delivery Building on this day. Although I did not get a test meal; I noticed that the soups were close to exploding, and I had to clean the bottom of a couple in order to place them neatly inside of the bags. Also, the desserts for this particular day included famous amos oatmeal raisin cookies, which seemed atypical, being that the point of GLWD is to nourish people not to kill them.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Short History of Medicine

"Doctor, I have a tummy ache."

2000 B.C.—"Here, eat this root."
1000 B.C.—"That root is heathen, say this prayer."
1850 A.D.—"That prayer is superstition, drink this potion."
1940 A.D.—"That potion is snake oil, swallow this pill."
1985 A.D.—"That pill is ineffective, take this antibiotic."
2000 A.D.—"That antibiotic is artificial. Here, eat this root!"

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

NPO Day 4

3/27, 9:30-1PM at Hope Lodge

The building was immaculate. It was new, state-of-the-art, comfortable and spacious. This is the way anyone would want to live.

Cancer patients did not float through the halls, at least not on the floor that I was on. We saw one family, whose kids were playing with their dear Grandma. I remembered mine and felt a short sting inside of my chest. She died of cancer, too.

But I went there not to weep or peep around. Another Registered Dietitian and I gave a presentation on food safety to the staff. There weren't too many people, but we provided lots of resources, books and power-point slides for the staff to keep on handy for their guests.

The key point we brought up was that since cancer patients have a high risk for contracting an illness, food safety is essential. Proper handwashing (20-30 seconds or singing happy birthday to oneself, twice), cleaning of fruits and veggies, and reheating meats/cooking foods in the microwave all the way were major points for the staff to bring up with their guests.

Reference: Food Safety for People with Cancer (USDA)

NPO Day 3

3/24, 10:30-1PM
What I did today was life-altering and AWESOME. Lisa had me going to a delivery site on W 86th St called, St. Paul and St. Andrew's Church. There, the food was dropped off in tubs and picked up by a GLWD volunteer (he's been volunteering for 10 years!) in order to deliver the food to the UWS contingency. This population resided mostly in public housing.

My job was not only to take notes and deliver the meals with the volunteer (named Kevin), but also do a "food test," which entailed me referring to HACCP guidelines, sticking a thermometer in the hot meals, and recording temperatures. I tested the food twice, once in the beginning of the delivery and once at the end in order to discern varations in temperature throughout the delivery process. The first test was in the stairwell and the temperatures were the following: Entree (vegetables, pasta and chicken): 103F and Soup: 119F. The dessert and bagels were room temperature. According to Kevin, "The meals are usually pretty hot." The meals are put into two bags: one smaller brown bag and one larger brown bag with handles so it is easy to carry. Kevin says it take one hour more or less to deliver to five people. Yesterday, he had seven people to deliver to. We began at 11:30 and we ended at 12:48. I tested the test meal again at 12:55 and the temperatures read as the following: Entree: 80FSoup: 97F. According to food safety guidelines, these temperatures are too low.

From start to finish, this was an eye-opening experience for me and I am very grateful for it. The public housing apartments were dicey: elevators and bells seldom worked, the smells were potent and made me feel sad that people had to live in this manner. Not every apartment was like this -- but the majority of the public housing buildings were. An 80-year-old lived right next to an apt that was BLASTING music so loudly that I was even offended. And it wasn't jazz or classical... if you get what I mean.

I had never seen anything like it before, only passed by them. It was certainly an experience I will not forget.

Kevin is a great delivery man. He has been doing this for the past 10 years and I could tell that he really cares about this organization, and the people he delivers to. He says he typically waits as long as it takes until someone opens the outside door when the outside bell isn't working. We luckily had someone come within 10 minutes to one building, whose bell has been broken for as long as Kevin can remember.

In thinking about the surveys I did the week prior, I realized that even PHONE connections doesn't take down the wall between understanding where these people live and come from. That I went INTO public housing didn't even't expose me to the magnitude of poverty these individuals experience. In the back (or I should say front) of my mind, I knew that once I left each building, I'd still have my own to come home to...


3/20, 11AM-2:30PM
I went back to the home-base and got the chance to learn all about a new delivery site called, Hope Lodge, down on W 32nd st. The lodge is for cancer patients to stay at if they do not live in the city but seek NYC medical attension. GLWD decided to send meals over to the lodge for the patients, since many of them cannot cook on their own. I will have the opportunity to see how the planning works right from the beginning. (Thurs the 27th I go to the Lodge to witness a Food Safety presentation and provide feedback for everyone).

I have been enjoying how much my skills and education are valued, respected and utilized.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

My NPO Experience

March 19th (11AM-3:30PM)
I stroll down to GLWD, a not-for-prof devoted toward delivering meals to people whose lives have been dramatically altered by disease. The home-base, on 166 Ave of the America's @ Spring Street, is where all of the good stuff happens.

Although I did my research prior to entering the big, grand building (which looks much like an over- sized old post-office), I had no idea what to expect. As embarrassing as this may sound, I actually thought that even though this was a food DELIVERY service, I was prepared to meet people with serious illnesses. For all of my health background, the thought of me sitting on a GLWD toilet seat full of virus and bacteria crossed my mind and I had to remind myself that I couldn't contract a disease through sitting my tush on the bowl.

These thoughts were dispelled instantly (thank GLWD) when I had the pleasure of meeting Esther, a sweet woman working in the Nutritional Services department as an RD, graduated from TC, where she evaluates clients' diets and answers any nutrition questions they have. Since the place sends out close to 3000 meals per day, there are a ton of questions coming in and the phone rings constantly.

Esther took me to the actual kitchen where I wore a food hair net for the first time. The kitchen was clean and it looked much like some of the camp kitchens I've worked in over the summer (well, maybe not worked in... but at least, utilized).

Esther also took me to the volunteer and admin offices so that I could see all aspects of the organization. It's HUGE! And everyone there is so warm--full of love, as the organization would imply.

During the course of my first day thee, I met Lisa Zullig, the head of the Nutrition Services dept, who can be contacted here. She had me calling clients to evaluate how they liked their meals, what time their delivery came, if they wanted any substitutions (such as yogurt for bagel)...etc. This was a great experience for me for a few reasons:

1. It directly had me in contact with the exact people who reap the benefits of the GLWD service, whereby I was fully able to analyze the quality of the GLWD program, in addition to the clients' preferences.

2. It put the human-touch-aspect of the job in check for me. Dealing with people is so important versus reading or writing about them.

3. 200 surveys later, I developed a great "phone-voice," and could probably take over for the lady on your voicemail :)

Nutrition Website

My personal blog here at Blogger is still going to remain intact; however, please visit my new website,, which will host more nutrition topics (because obviously you just can't get enough!)