Massachusetts Nonprofit Spotlight: Community Servings
This feature is part of a recurring series on Massachusetts nonprofits, through which Boston Mamas Founder + Editor Christine Koh donates her digital real estate in order to shine a light on great work that is happening in this fine state to help those in need. If you work at or know of a fantastic Massachusetts nonprofit worthy of feature, fill out this form!
This month’s spotlight is on Community Servings, a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts and in Rhode Island to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. The responses below are written from the voice of Community Servings staffer Amanda Marsden.
What is the story behind Community Servings?
Community Servings was founded in 1990 by a diverse coalition of AIDS activists, faith groups, and community organizations to provide home-delivered meals to individuals living with HIV/AIDS through the leadership of the American Jewish Congress. At first, Community Servings delivered a hot dinner to 30 individuals struggling with HIV/AIDS in Dorchester and Roxbury.
Since then, Community Servings has evolved from a small neighborhood meals program to a regional program serving nutritionally tailored meals and providing nutrition education to thousands of people per year across Massachusetts — all of whom are unable to shop or cook for themselves or their families due to a critical illness.
What is the mission of Community Servings?
Community Servings is a not-for-profit food and nutrition program providing services throughout Massachusetts and in Rhode Island to individuals and families living with critical and chronic illnesses. We give our clients, their dependent family members and caregivers appealing, nutritious meals, and send the message to those in greatest need that someone cares. Our goals are to help our clients maintain their health and dignity and preserve the integrity of their families through culturally appropriate, home-delivered meals, nutrition education, and other community programs.
Who does Community Servings help?
Community Servings helps individuals and families with critical or chronic illnesses. Our clients range in age from 1 to 102. Average age of our clients is 53. We also offer a culinary job training program for individuals who face barriers to full time employment, called the Teaching Kitchen.
What are Community Servings’ core community activities?
Community Servings provides medically tailored meals to people living with critical or chronic illnesses. This year, we'll prepare and deliver 650,000 made-from-scratch meals to 2,300 individuals and their families. Our meals are medically tailored to meet the nutritional and medical needs of our clients who have HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and other life-threatening illnesses.
Right now, Community Servings is running it's 26th annual Pie in the Sky Thanksgiving bake sale fundraiser (which runs until November 17). Pie in the Sky brings together more than 100 of Greater Boston’s most generous chefs, bakers, and caterers to bake and donate thousands of delicious pies that more than 500 volunteers sell to their family, friends, and coworkers. Each $30 pie or donation provides a week’s worth of meals for a critically ill neighbor in need.
We also have a spring gala (LifeSavor), a Mother's Day fundraiser (Meals4Moms), and welcome volunteers in our kitchen to help us prep meals all year round!
What is the proven impact of Community Servings so far?
650,000 medically tailored meals prepared & delivered this year
Serve 2,300 people/year
Serve 21 cities & towns in MA
Host 600 volunteers each month
What is one of the most compelling examples of how Community Servings has made a difference?
In April, our health insurance claims data study evaluating the impact of medically tailored meals provided through health insurance was recently published in the journal Health Affairs. The research study, funded by AARP Foundation and undertaken in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital, looked at healthcare claims data of Commonwealth Care Alliance patients who received our medically tailored meals compared against control groups with similar demographics, and demonstrated a 16% net reduction in average monthly healthcare costs for patients who received Community Servings’ meals.
In addition to the research that shows how medically tailored meals are a cost effective healthcare intervention, we hear from our clients and their families everyday.
What are the top needs of Community Servings?
Volunteers for Pie in the Sky but also year-round, in our kitchen. While we have an age limit of 13 to volunteer in our kitchen year-round, we have two volunteer opportunities that are perfect for families of all ages – Thanksgiving Meal Delivery and Holiday Meal Delivery.
Donations. We accept donations year-round, but at this time of year, folks can receive a delicious pie for $30 or opt to make a ""Pie for a Client"" donation.
Spread the word! We're in the middle of our Food is the Foundation Campaign to fund a new building, expanding our kitchen and tripling the number of medically tailored meals we can make. Donations to our Campaign are being matched until the end of the year, thanks to a generous donor.
Thank you, Community Servings, for all you are doing to feed people in a loving and dignified manner! If you want to support Community Servings, an easy way would be to share this feature. And another great way would be to drop them a donation!