On behalf of Community Servings’ clients, volunteers, and staff, thank you again for your generosity. Over the past year we have had great success in our effort to prevent hunger among low-income individuals and families affected by critical illness.
Over the past year, we have provided 650,000 medically tailored meals to over 2,300 individuals who were living with more than 25 different life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, renal disease, HIV/AIDS and multiple sclerosis. In addition, we experienced successful outcomes in our nutrition education, job-training, volunteer, local foods and food and health policy programs as detailed in the attached report.
Thank you again for your generous commitment to Community Servings and the clients we serve.
David B. Waters
Through our Nutrition Program for Individuals and Families Affected by Critical and Chronic Illnesses we provided 619,418 meals to 2,041 men, women and children in our program who were affected by a critical illness in last 12 months, exceeding our projections of meals and clients served this year.
More than 25,000 nutrition supplements and 750 Nausea Care Packs were provided to clients at the highest level of nutritional vulnerability.
Of those served, 94% were living in poverty and 50% were families. Eleven percent (11%) of our clients were 18 years old or younger. Seventy-four percent (74%) of those served were critically ill clients and 26% were dependents and caregivers. Sixty-four percent (64%) of our clients were from racial/ethnic minorities.
57% of clients who responded to our annual Client Survey, said that in the month before starting Community Servings’ nutrition program they were concerned about having enough food to eat for themselves and their family. After starting our meals 72% said this was no longer a concern. Additional results showed 70% reporting that our meals were helping them achieve their weight goals, 63% of the respondents said that their energy levels have increased or stabilized since they began receiving our meals and 65% reported that the meals were excellent or good at meeting their cultural preferences.
We maintained more than 200 referral partnerships with area health and social service organizations to ensure we are reaching clients and families living at the highest levels of nutritional vulnerability.
Through ourHealth Care Initiative,we have secured six contracts with health insurers and providers who reimburse the cost of our medically tailored meals for their sick and food insecure patients.
Our kitchen is producing an average of 2,600 meals per day. This would not have been possible without the help of 6,300 volunteers who donated over 50,000 hours over the fiscal year, helping us prepare, package and deliver our meals.
Local Foods Program
Through ourLocal Foodsprogram, we received 55,000 pounds of donated produce from eight local farm sources.
Through a local foods grant, we undertaken a partnership with Red Tomato, a local food aggregator based in Plainville, MA that provides wholesale distribution from eight MA farms. Working with a local food aggregator will enable us to streamline purchasing of some products through one source and ensure our large produce orders can be filled.
Over the past year, we also exceeded our projections for nutrition education, delivering 6,000 hours of nutrition education to 2,400 individuals affected by critical or chronic illness. This includes our successful “Farm to Fork” program that offers free shares of local produce from farm partners coupled with on-site nutrition education in our Nutrition Classroom.
“Food Is Medicine” Food & Health Policy Initiative
The results of our research project evaluating the impact of our meals on health and healthcare costs was recently published inHealth Affairs.This study, undertaken in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital, showed across the board reductions in “big ticket” items –including hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and ambulance services resulting in a 16% average net reduction in healthcare costs. This study was featured in a May 2018 Food is Medicine Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill.
We have completed the first year of our three-year research study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Community Servings is just one of 22 grantees nationwide.
We have research and food and health policy partnerships with MA General Hospital, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School. We are also a founding member of both the Food is Medicine Coalition, a partnership of 17 sister agencies and the national Root Cause Coalition, focused on social determinants of health. In partnership with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School and the BCBSMA Foundation, we are leading the development of the nation's first Food is Medicine State Plan, which we expect to be released in early 2019. This plan will assess existing Food is Medicine interventions and set forth policy recommendations that will advance access for intrastate interventions.
We also presented our nutrition model at several national conferences including: 2017 Society of General Internal Medicine annual conference in Washington D.C., 2017 Root Cause Coalition and 2017 Putting Care at the Center conference, the annual conference of the National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs.
In October 2017, we co-hosted our fifth “Food Is Medicine” Symposium with Harvard Law School’s Center for Health with over 150 attendees.
Teaching Kitchen Food-Service Job Training Program
Over the past year we have received 80 applications for 40 trainee spots. We accepted 44 and of those 37 enrolled and 24 (65%) graduated. Nineteen (19) trainees elected to take the MA ServSafe exam, 15 (79%) passed this exam.
87% of placed graduates have retained their job for 30 days or more.
Among our trainees 100% were unemployed/underemployed, 100% were low-income, 62% were from communities of color, 59% were ex-offenders, 41% were women and 65% were homeless. Over the past two years, we have experienced a significant increase in trainees with multiple major barriers to employment.
This year we worked closely with 45 different referral partners who referred potential trainees to our program, including The Work Place, JobNet, and Career Link. Other referral partners include: Access to Recovery, Boston Juvenile Re-Entry Initiative at Roxbury Youthworks, Youth Build, Youth Options Unlimited (YOU), Suffolk County Department of Corrections.
We maintained relationships with 100 employment partners including hotels, hospitals, restaurants and smaller food-service facilities such as residential programs.
“Food Campus” Capital Expansion Project
We are in the process of building and renovating our 31,000 square foot “Food Campus” which will nearly triple our capacity to produce 1.5M medically tailored meals annually.
We have raised $9.8M toward our $12M “Food is the Foundation” capital campaign goal to-date.
ChallengesWe are actively engaged in building investment in our capital expansion project to create a 31,000 square foot "Food Campus" that will enable us to triple our capacity. The urgency for this capital expansion cannot be understated. Today, we have a waiting list of 150 individuals who have been medically certified as needing our medically tailored nutrition program. Our kitchen is operating at maximum designed capacity and we simply do not have enough slots to start clients who are in need upon referral. Clients are prioritized based on a framework of illness severity and isolation and many are on our waitlist for three to six months before starting our meals. For these sick and nutritionally vulnerable clients and their families, this waiting period is extremely difficult and often detrimental to their ability to manage their illness.
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