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A taste of life at Maris Grove

New flexible meal plan a hit

Created date

September 19th, 2012

Since its launch in January, Maris Grove s flexible dining program has received rave reviews from the 1,400 residents of Erickson Living s community in Delaware County, Pa. The program works like this: The monthly plan provides a meal credit for each day of the month; the 20-meal plan provides 20 meals each month and reduces a participant s monthly service package by $60. Residents can use their credits however they like at breakfast, lunch, or dinner; for two meals one day, none the next; or to treat guests. Dining Services Director Joe Guidetti says more residents are inviting guests for meals now, especially for brunch on the last Sunday of each month. Before the flexible dining program, we d average 60 to 80 brunch guests, he says. In July, we recorded 115.

20-meal appeal

Maris Grove is a highly active community. Many members work, volunteer, spend weekends down at the shore, eat out. A few even cook. All those folks, about a third of residents, like the 20-meal plan. Deanna Dean is one of them. Deanna, who moved from Media, works four, eight-hour days as a nurse anesthetist, and some evenings has dinner at her daughter s on the way home. Other nights, she joins friends at one of Maris Grove s restaurants, or gets dinner to go from Maris Grove s Coebourn Caf and eats in the spacious kitchen of her Hastings-style apartment home. When she goes off campus for long-weekend getaways and ends up with credits to spare, she invites friends or colleagues in for meals to give them a taste of life at Maris Grove. Deanna also uses saved credits when her son and his family visit. He used to feel that he, and not his mother, should pay for their meals. Now, with this new flexibility, unused meal credits satisfy the group. Deanna s meal plan also travels with her. When she visits her sister and brother-in-law at Erickson Living s Ashby Ponds community in Virginia, she uses it there. Marlene and Tom Bodden also chose the 20-meal version. The monthly plan could mean we d waste meals, says Marlene. That s because their children and grandchildren live nearby and visit often. When family members gather at Maris Grove, Marlene cooks their Italian favorites. Sometimes she uses her credits at Coebourn Caf , for items like yogurt, bagels, and chicken she can refrigerate for future in-home meals. The Boddens use saved credits to treat their grandkids to Coebourn Caf s hotdog and burger bar.

Making the switch

Dick and Barb Olsen chose the monthly plan which provides a meal credit per the number of days in the calendar month. Dick, the resident advisory council s liaison to dining services, has eaten in campus restaurants nearly every day since the Olsens moved in four years ago. He likes the healthy selections and the ability to choose among ten different and daily-changing entr es. But after campus neighbors who sing with him in Delaware County s barbershop group kept singing the praises of the 20-meal plan, the Olsens decided to switch for awhile; residents can do that every quarter. Besides keeping full schedules of on- and off-campus commitments, We like to eat out, says Dick. Their $120 savings might mean they ll do that a bit more often now.