Octogenarian Celebrates 60 Years in Hospital Foodservice

October 12, 2020

Octogenarian Celebrates 60 Years in Hospital Foodservice
Somerset resident hasn’t missed a day throughout the pandemic

New Brunswick, N.J. – October 12, 2020 – Saint Peter’s University Hospital recently recognized one of its longtime employees for 60 years of service. Julia Kinsey of Somerset, supervisor of Food and Nutrition Services at Saint Peter’s University Hospital, began working in the hospital’s foodservice department when she was just 19 years old. She celebrated her 80th birthday just a few weeks ago. What is even more impressive is that this octogenarian has continued to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

While family members and co-workers gently suggested she consider a temporary leave of absence due to her age and the virus, she wouldn’t hear of it. “I love my job, both the people I work with and the people I work for,” Kinsey said. “During the crisis, I felt even more urgency to make my patients happy. I try to make each meal tray special and attractive.”

For Kinsey, she believes it’s the little things that can make a difference in someone’s day. Her philosophy is to treat others like she would treat her own family and that commitment has resulted in many of her co-workers seeing her as more than a supervisor.

“She’s my second mom,” said Kecia Stephenson, supervisor and a co-worker of Kinsey’s for 33 years. “When I came onboard, I was the youngest person int the department and Julia took me under her wing. She was and is my role model, and that goes way beyond things she’s taught me professionally. I’ve learned a lot of life’s lessons from her, as well. We are family, inside and outside of work.” Kinsey has mentored her and countless others whose careers took root in the hospital’s foodservice department.

Kinsey is extremely humble, but she credits her work ethic and ability to connect with others to three key elements in her life: my family, my work family and my church family. The proud mother of three children, two daughters and a son, Julia said the only time she took time away from her job of 60 years was to raise her three children. Active in her church of 40 years, North Stelton AME Church in Piscataway, she is a member of the Board of Stewards and was elected coordinator of the church’s Culinary Department.

“I’ve always liked to cook and to feed people. It’s the one thing that brings us all together,” Kinsey adds.

Asked about the key to her longevity at Saint Peter’s, Kinsey said that her co-workers at Saint Peter’s are like family. She went on to explain that it is not just the 100-plus workers in Culinary and Nutrition Services, but the individuals in other departments with whom she interfaces. “We share a sense of compassionate care and dedication to those we serve. It’s this comradery and commitment that is at the heart of Saint Peter’s.”

According to Debbie Signorelli, MS, RD, CDE, director of Culinary and Nutrition Services at Saint Peter’s, Kinsey is truly selfless. She will do whatever it takes to make sure things are running smoothly. I’ve seen her go above and beyond to ensure we deliver our meal trays timely and efficiently to meet patient needs.”

Retiring is certainly something Julia Kinsey has contemplated, but she has no definitive plans, at least for now. She is also known to make a mean coconut cake, so perhaps we can convince her to share the famous recipe before she does.

About Saint Peter’s University Hospital
Saint Peter’s University Hospital, a member of Saint Peter’s Healthcare System, is a 478-bed acute-care teaching hospital sponsored by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Metuchen. Saint Peter’s is a state-designated children’s hospital and a regional perinatal center, and is a regional specialist in diabetes, gastroenterology, head and neck surgery, oncology, orthopedics, and women’s services. The Children’s Hospital at Saint Peter’s University Hospital provides families with access to a full range of pediatric specialties, including a nationally recognized Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, pediatric surgery and orthopedic surgery featuring innovative anterior scoliosis correction. The hospital offers a midwifery service and the brand-new state-of-the-art Mary V. O’Shea Birth Center. Saint Peter’s is a sponsor of residency programs in obstetrics and gynecology, pediatrics and internal medicine, and is a major clinical affiliate of Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences. Visit or call 732-745-8600.

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