If food equals love, a good steak dinner is like a big bear hug.

That’s why staff at Pelican Landing assisted living center in Detroit Lakes treated the 18 residents there to a steak dinner with all the fixings, including a glass of wine and a slice of cheesecake -- to be eaten in the safety of their private rooms.

“This is our way of saying ‘we’ll get through this together,’” said Assistant Executive Director Auna Sigdahl. “The past few weeks have been harder than most, and we wanted to find a way to spread some love. I mean food is a love language of its own, right?”

Since residents are mandated to stay in their rooms, with no communal dining, to help protect them from COVID-19, the leadership team recently dressed up in formal attire and delivered room service to residents, Sigdahl said.

"And now I dine," remarked one of the residents as she sat down to a noon feast of sirloin steak, twice baked potatoes, steamed carrots, house salad, homemade dinner roll and, to top it off, a glass of wine and homemade cheesecake for dessert.

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As classical music echoed in the hallways, residents were delighted to see their dinner roll toward their doorways. Many of them dressed up for the occasion, Sigdahl said.

Owned by Progressive Care LLC, of Grand Rapids, Pelican Landing has room for 76 residents, including an in-house 21-apartment memory care unit.

Staff takes the threat of coronavirus very seriously, Sigdahl said. “We are continuing to screen staff and essential workers every day,” she said, and staff members are committed to the statewide “stay-at-home order” to protect team members and residents.

The facility has a good supply of disposable face masks donated by West River Dental and Dental Associates of Detroit Lakes, but still welcomes donations of disposables, Sigdahl said.

Pelican Landing also has a supply of homemade face masks donated by Laura Boreen’s mom, Loretta Wahmhoff of Van Wert, Ohio.

“I think it’s safe to say no one was hungry,” Sigdahl said after the steak dinners were served. “Today we had fun -- we treated our residents to five-star room service.”