Oct. 14, 2005 – There was hoopla at the hospital on Friday as employees of the Nutrition Services Department honored their own and raised funds for cancer awareness and prevention.
The event was the "3rd Annual Hoopla at the Hospital" and the hospital cafeteria, where the event was held, lived up to its expectations of a boisterous, jovial commotion.
Framed by brightly colored walls and tables just as vibrant, hospital employees as well as visitors were in a festive mood as they lined up to purchase souvenirs or get in the food line. Rhythmic reggae music was pulsating in the background and the smells of a variety of culinary delights tempted the senses.
Hoopla at the Hospital is the brainchild of Jean Marie Paul, director of Food and Nutrition at Juan F. Luis for the past two-and-a-half years. Paul said the first two years of the event were mainly a way for employees to commemorate the lives of two of their own who died from cancer.
That year the 45 Food and Nutrition employees raised $500 and donated it to the St. Croix Cancer Society. The next year the group raised $1,000.
Gregory L. Davila, public relations officer at the hospital, said when he started his job a year ago he thought it would be a good thing to expand the project. He said there were other hospital employees who died from cancer and could be included in the remembrances. He also decided to get the entire community involved.
"I hope it gets even bigger," Davila said.
The day included limbo contests and raffles. Souvenir items included head scarves emblazoned with the words "Courage and hope," water bottles, cups, wrist bands and hair clips.
Paul reminded people that the cafeteria is open to the general public. "We have good tasting nutritious food that is a good value for your dollar," she said.
The cafeteria is open for breakfast and lunch five days a week offering local and continental fare and a fresh salad and fruit bar. It offers sushi every other Thursday and a made-to-order pasta sensation every Tuesday.
"You can get a full meal, with a drink and dessert for under $10," Paul said.
Besides the traditional breakfast dishes, the Juan F. Luis Hospital cafeteria offers a Crucian breakfast every other Friday. You can have you choice of saltfish, johnnycakes, and other native treats. Breakfast will set you back about $5.
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