Community Servings has reached a milestone in its mission of providing nourishing, scratch-made meals to people living in Massachusetts with critical and chronic illnesses, who are too sick to shop or cook for themselves: 9 million meals made.
The Jamaica Plain-based nonprofit organization, founded in 1990, has experienced major growth over the past year as medically tailored meal services have been integrated into new patient-centered models of care, expanding the agency’s reach across the commonwealth. More recently, the COVID-19 outbreak has prompted a surge in need for healthy food sources among the most vulnerable in the community.
“Community Servings has risen 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,” said David B. Waters, CEO of Community Servings. “Our work – not only in response to COVID-19 but throughout our 30-year history – would not be possible without the many individual donors, corporations and private foundations that have supported us, along with help from public sector partners like the city of Boston.”
While the agency anticipated growing into its recently expanded, 31,000-square-foot Food Campus with a steady ramp-up over the next five years, Community Servings 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. The expanded meal-making effort has resulted in an unexpected and extraordinary increase in costs associated with purchasing more fresh and shelf-stable foods, and securing personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff to remain safe and healthy.
Community Servings has received generous support to its COVID-19 Rapid Relief Fund from major funders, including Bank of America, Biogen, Boston Resiliency Fund, The Boston Foundation, and The TJX Companies, Inc.
Community Servings began in 1990 during the HIV/AIDS health crisis, when a group of activists, faith groups and community organizations delivered a hot dinner to 30 individuals in the Boston neighborhoods of Dorchester and Roxbury. In the last two months during the COVID-19 crisis, Community Servings’ weekly meal production increased from 10,000 to 14,000; it may reach 18,000 meals per week by the end of June if current demand persists. The organization had expected to reach the 9 million meal milestone this summer, but the need came sooner and stronger.