“Don’t be bashful! We’ve got Fench fries!”
Homeland Center Board of Managers member Janet Young was standing before a cart stocked with hot, fresh French fries ready for Homeland residents to enjoy with lunch.
Homeland Center has hopped on board the food truck craze and, in what is becoming an annual tradition, brought a French fries truck right to the door in late May 2017 for the enjoyment of residents and staff.
The truck first made an appearance in April 2016, after residents asked for fries with their meals. But keeping fries hot and crispy while serving them to multiple dining areas was a problem.
In response, Homeland Board of Managers member Kelly Lick contracted York-based Bricker’s Famous French Fries to bring the treat to Homeland’s front door. Steady rain on French fries day also is becoming a tradition, so Homeland staffers and Board of Managers members filled trays with servings as they came out of the fryer and distributed them throughout the building.
“You can smell them coming in the door!” came an excited cry as a group gathered at the Sixth Street entrance.
“I came for my French fries,” said resident Marie Andrews. “I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss them.”
Andrews said she didn’t have a favorite French fries place growing up, although “as an adult, I thought McDonald’s had the best.” As for the Board of Managers’ effort, she said, “It’s wonderful. It’s very thoughtful of them to do this.”
Resident Lou Hepschmidt, philanthropist and longtime supporter of Homeland, had never had French fries until Homeland staff took her to Burger King.
“The taste is great, and the feel of them is great,” she said. “They’re hot. These are done just right.”
Visitors and Homeland staff enjoyed the treat as much as residents.
“The staff here is phenomenal,” said Lick as she walked the hallways with the aroma of fresh French fries wafting from her tray. “They are incredible people. It’s nice to be able to do a little thank you for them, too.”
Among those enjoying the treat was resident Geoffrey Davenport – something of an expert on French fries and cooking. His family owned Davenport’s, a restaurant that many Harrisburg-area residents remember fondly.
“The potatoes have to be grown correctly,” he said. “A load of sour potatoes is the worst smell in the world, so you have to keep the potatoes fresh. The grease has to be 370 degrees, and don’t overcook them.”
He gave Bricker’s French fries and the food truck’s appearance an enthusiastic thumbs up: “It’s nice for a change.”
Homeland’s dietary philosophy balances the nutritional needs of residents with quality of life. All meals and each resident’s food plan are carefully crafted to offer nutritional value and accommodate individual circumstances, but as long as there are no dietary restrictions, items like French fries and ice cream are freely dished out.
It’s all part of Homeland’s commitment to live up to its name: creating a welcoming home for residents and looking after both their physical and emotional well-being.
Babs Phillips, a Board of Managers member, said the board’s efforts to delight the residents and maintain Homeland’s cheery atmosphere are “just a joy.”
“You get more out of it than you put into it,” she said.