Thank You for Your Service: Veterans Enjoy Meals Served on Special Camtrays

We appreciate what our veterans have done for our country every day, but it’s especially important to take the time to say “thank you” on November 11. The first veterans assistance program can be traced back to the 1600’s with the pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. Today, nearly 6 million veterans and their family members receive almost $135 billion in benefits and services annually, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

One of those services at Wilmington VA Medical Center, located in Wilmington, Del., involves something that we all enjoy: food. Up to 60 patients and residents are served breakfast, lunch and dinner through room service every day. 

When the Nutrition and Food Service department noticed their trays weren’t up to their standards anymore, they decided to replace them with something more fitting for our nation’s heroes.   

“The chief that was here at the time, she really wanted the experience to start with the way your tray looks when it comes to you. So, the design that Cambro came up with was just really beautiful and then we just added the blue accents…and it just all looked really nice,” said Angel Smolka, Nutrition and Food Service Cook Supervisor.  

Using a Décor Series Camtray® in Light Oak as a foundation, the Veterans Affairs logo and the logos of each military agency were added to represent each type of veteran. They also added a Camduction® Complete Heat System and mugs, bowls, domes and lids from our Shoreline Collection in Navy Blue to match.

“I think it makes them feel like these were created especially for them, which to me, it’s real special. It just makes you feel like someone put in the extra effort into making you feel important,” said Smolka.

“We used to take all of their things off the tray because the trays weren’t that attractive and these trays were so attractive that we just left everything on the tray, and they really, really liked it. They were excited, they felt like it was personal and involved them.”

In addition to the personalization, the Camtrays have a non-skid surface that’s been treated with a clear EpicTread solution for safer handling and spill prevention. After transporting the new trays in their Cambro Meal Delivery carts, Smolka has noticed the Camtrays are doing exactly what they claim to do.

“I think that things don’t really slide around as much as they used to on the old trays. You don’t see a lot of spillage and the coffee tipping over or the juice tipping over,” said Smolka.  

Previously, Smolka said their old trays would come out of the dish machine “not really looking so great” after a few washes, but after six months, her experience with their Camtrays couldn’t be more different.

“I haven’t seen any wear on them at all. They still look like they did when we first got them,” said Smolka.

To celebrate Veteran’s Day, every veteran will be treated to a special meal featuring prime rib, crab cakes and cheesecake for dessert.

Wilmington VA Medical Center provides health care services to more than 32,000 veterans through its main medical center and five Community Based Outpatient Clinics in Delaware and southern New Jersey, according to Public Affairs Officer, Susana Cebula.

Links for Wilmington VA Medical Center

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