Over the past year, we provided 549,729 medically tailored meals to 2,012 clients, their dependent children and caregivers who were affected by critical and chronic illnesses such as cancer, renal disease, HIV and multiple sclerosis. Of those served, 94% were living in poverty, more than 40% were families, and 62% were from communities of color. These clients received 15 different medical diets, customized in a variety of combinations to meet their medical and nutritional needs.
Notably, our most recent research study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Evidence for Action program, was published in April in JAMA – Internal Medicine. This study provides strong new evidence linking medically tailored meal interventions to improved health outcomes and lower medical costs for high-need, high-cost patients. This groundbreaking study is the largest and most rigorous evaluation of medically tailored meals, to date.
Additional Activities and Accomplishments
Nutrition Education & Counseling
We provided 4,771 hours of nutrition education and counseling to more than 2,000 individuals through on and off-site classes, monthly newsletters, workshops/presentations, phone counseling, and nutrition assessments/reassessments.
“Food Is Medicine” Food & Health Policy Initiative
In partnership with Harvard Law School’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, we launched the nation's first Food is Medicine State Plan, which explores the need for and access to Food is Medicine interventions and sets forth policy recommendations to advance access for intrastate interventions. As part of the project’s two-year planning and information gathering process, we conducted 11 listening sessions across the state.
Over the past year, 8,000 volunteers have contributed almost 52,000 hours, helping us prepare, package and deliver our meals.
Local Foods Program
Through our Local Foods program, we integrated 120,000 pounds of fresh local produce from ten area farms and sources into our medically tailored meals. This includes donated surplus produce and purchased local foods products.
Teaching Kitchen Food-Service Job Training Program
Over the past year, we enrolled 34 trainees in one of four, 12-week job training sessions. All of our job trainees are low-income with multiple major barriers to employment such as criminal records and homelessness.
Eighty percent (80%) of graduates have found meaningful employment in our community, and the majority (75%) retained their job for 30+ days.
We are on track to complete this project by November 2019, and a ribbon-cutting event is planned for December 17th.
Joining us for this important occasion will be Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker as well as other key dignitaries.
We will continue to fundraise for the capital project until the ribbon-cutting event.
In addition to construction and fundraising, we just finalized a five-year strategic plan to articulate our goals for our “Food Campus” and prepare for significant programmatic growth in the new building.
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