Community Servings is the story of a community coming together on behalf of our sick neighbors. Through a volunteer program which hosts 850 volunteers each month, a professional kitchen that gives ex-offenders and job-trainees a second chance, a nutrition program providing medically tailored critically ill clients, and community-wide special events involving hundreds of local chefs and restaurants, Community Servings has created and sustained a large community and powerful sense of caring for the critically ill. Together, we prepared and delivered 500,000 free meals to the critically ill last year!
We have much to be proud of and yet, we continually look to the future and how we can do “more.” There are more communities in need of our nutrition service, more clients to be served and client families to be fed, and more job-trainees to host and help find meaningful jobs. There is an epidemic of diet-related illnesses in Massachusetts and we are poised to leverage our expertise in nutrition care to lead a movement toward healthy eating and nutritional wellness.
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Nutrition Care through Home-Delivered Meals
Through our service, we stand with our clients as they confront the biggest crisis of their lives: battling an illness that is life threatening. Five days a week, Community Servings delivers a customized, nutritionally-packed lunch, dinner, and snack to more individuals struggling with life-threatening illnesses throughout eastern Massachusetts, touching over 1,800 lives per year. Each client’s meals are tailored by our Registered Dietitian, in consultation with clients and their healthcare provider, to offer specialized nutrition care – the correct balance of nutrients and calories to help the client to combat a specific disease, gain or maintain weight and muscle mass, and manage the effects of drugs and other powerful medical treatments. Acting at the intersection of food and health, we provide 17 special diets – such as low-fat, low-vitamin-K, easy-to-swallow, and low-potassium, among others – that enable us to offer diet combinations that meet our clients’ individual, often complex dietary needs as well as their individual tastes. Our meals help mitigate medications’ negative effects so our clients can benefit from medical treatments for longer periods. For many of our clients, medications are not useful due to drug resistance, intolerable side effects, and allergies. This leaves nutrition as one of their only tools in their struggle against the ravages of illness.
Our medically tailored meals, nutritional counseling, and client contact have an immediate impact on our clients, many of who would be hungry and alone without us. As medically tailored nutrition keeps them healthier for longer periods, we help our clients avoid hospitalization and an accelerated decline in their health, keeping families together longer. For our clients who are never able to leave our nutrition program due to deteriorating health, we give them dignity as they pass out of life by enabling them to stay at home for as long as possible.
Based on our own experience and evaluation of our nutrition program, we know that our meals can improve energy, increase or maintain weight and reduce the toxic side effects of drug treatments among clients. Clients’ participation in our meal service will also result in increased awareness of the importance of nutrition in illness management. We also know that the food security that our meals provide contributes to a more stable home environment for the families we serve. Our expertise in nutrition care is evidenced by client data that demonstrates the medical impact of our meals. Based on recent client data, we anticipate the following outcomes: 560,000 meals will be served to 1,850 individuals affected by a critical illness, their caregivers and dependent children, 70% or more of our primary clients surveyed will report that our meals are helping them achieve their weight goals and energy goals. 60% of parent respondents will report that their stress levels have decreased or stabilized since their family began receiving our meals. Nutrition education opportunities will be offered to 100% of the families we serve. 80% will report they have received the nutrition information they need. This will include access to workshops, courses, and nutrition education materials for clients and family members.