Community Servings: Healing People with Food, Hope
As the old saying goes, good food brings people together and nourishes the soul. What if that axiom isn’t true for everyone?
It’s sobering to think that people may not experience enjoying the company of their loved ones eating delicious food and creating memories. Unfortunately, this was the sad reality in the early 1990s for many terminally ill individuals living with HIV/AIDS residing in Boston, Massachusetts.
This public health crisis was the defining moment for Community Servings, a non-profit organization founded by a diverse coalition of AIDS activists, faith groups, and community organizations who decided to provide home-delivered meals to locals living with a critical illness.
At first, Community Servings delivered hot dinners to 30 individuals struggling with HIV/AIDS in Dorchester and Roxbury. Since then, the organization has evolved from a small neighborhood program to a regional program providing nutritionally tailored meals and nutrition education services 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 chronic and life-threatening illness.
To accommodate their growing clientele, Community Servings recently partnered with the Jacobs Boston team to complete and open a new 31,000-square-foot Food Campus in Jamaica Plain.
Just weeks after the project was finished, the COVID-19 pandemic thrust the world into upheaval. Transportation was halted, the economy severely impacted, physical distancing regulations are still being monitored and many stay-in-place orders are still in effect.
Showing their true resiliency, the Community Servings team launched a rapid response to the virus and prepared 27,000 extra meals for food-insecure neighbors in Boston.
“Community Servings rose to the challenge presented by the pandemic by growing our client services, kitchen and meal delivery teams, and ramping up our scratch-made meal preparation by 40 percent to help feed hundreds of hungry neighbors in Boston each week,” says CEO of Community Servings David B. Waters. “While we anticipated growing into our new Food Campus with a controlled ramp-up over the next five years, our kitchen team is now using all available cooking and packaging space to allow for workplace social distancing and to address the sharp increase in demand for meals.”
Over the next year, Community Servings expects to prepare and deliver around 800,000 medically tailored meals to 3,200 critically-ill individuals and their families across the Commonwealth. That’s a 40 percent increase from 2019.
The organization recently hit some major milestones such as expanding their mission of medically tailored meals as a statewide service and making their 9-millionth meal.
Community Servings believes in the astonishing power of food and their mission has been the healing spirit to so many Massachusettsans – and is one Jacobs is proud to partner on to connect people with the means to live better, work smarter.
Learn more about Community Servings and their mission here.