By Ariana Estes

The smell of frying burgers fills the air of the Charlottesville Day Support program. Adam, an individual at the program, is busy putting together chef hats for everyone in the room. The room is buzzing with excitement because it’s a special day for the group – it’s the bi-monthly Lunch Club meeting.

Farmington Country Club Chef de Cuisine Morgan Henegahn cooks burgers at Charlottesville Day Support

Every other month, Day Support individuals can enjoy eating a special lunch together and spending time in their community. The idea was conceived by an individual in the group during a brainstorming session.

“We ask the individuals for ideas for activities each month to remain as person-centered as possible,” says LFSVA Direct Support Professional II Jenny Glazebrook. “Several months ago, the idea for Lunch Club was brought up, and we all thought it was a wonderful idea! We implemented our first lunch club in July with a visit to Chick-Fil-A, and it was a huge hit.”

Glazebrook then touched base with a few community contacts and arranged lunch at Rapture Restaurant at the Charlottesville downtown mall. The restaurant was generous enough to create a special menu for the group, allowing them to stay within their club budget of $10 per meal.

Charlottesville Lunch Club at Rapture Restaurant with chef Chris Humphrey

Lunch Club is a great opportunity for both the individuals and the community.

“I think it’s great for everyone involved to see that the folks we serve are capable of doing anything and everything as anyone else. That includes the individuals seeing that they are part of the community, the same as everyone else,” says Glazebrook.

Staff and individuals get together to decide where the group would like to eat. They aren’t picky when it comes to the type of food, but staff must ensure there is enough room for everyone and that the spot is wheelchair accessible.

LFSVA Direct Support Professional II Jenny Glazebrook poses with Connie in their chef hats during Lunch Club

In November, chef de cuisine Morgan Heneghan and chef Christopher Deyerle from Farmington Country Club visited Charlottesville Day Support to cook the group a lunch of burgers and fries. The club has a strict members-only policy, so the chefs brought the VIP treatment straight to the individuals. After preparing the food, the chefs served each individual and spent time with the group as they enjoyed their lunch.

“This is the best burger I’ve ever had in my life,” raved Adam.

The group is already looking forward to their next Lunch Club, when they will take a trip to IHOP!

Charlottesville Day Support with chef de cuisine Morgan Heneghan and chef Christopher Deyerle

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Do you or someone you know have a restaurant in the Charlottesville area that would be a good fit for Lunch Club? Contact Mary Leaf, program manager, at mleaf@lfsva.org.