June 27th marks the 5 year anniversary of our new facility!
A transformative moment in our history came in June 2007, when we moved to a new state-of-the-art nutrition facility in Jamaica Plain. This enabled us to significantly increase meal capacity to now produce 2,000 meals per day, improve food quality, engage greater numbers of volunteers, expand nutrition services including on-site nutrition classes, offer a food-service job-training program and diversify our funding revenues through a social enterprise. Because of the generosity of funders, donors and corporations, we were able to launch and build the following programs:
- Feed more neighbors in need: 1,300 individuals – up from 1,100 in our prior space. Community Servings delivers 383,000 free, home-style meals to 1,300 people per year, who are too sick to cook for themselves or their families. Currently caring for clients with 35 different life-threatening illnesses, our service includes a customized, nutritionally-packed lunch, dinner, and snack for sick clients, their caregivers and dependent children, 95% of whom live at or below the poverty level. Our geographic service area includes 215 square miles across eastern Massachusetts. As the only program of its kind in New England, we offer 25 different medically-appropriate menus each week, including a Children's Menu!
- Create the Job Training Program which is a 12-week food service job-training program, focused on those with barriers to employment. Trainees learn basic cooking skills, life skills, food sanitation and receive job placement support. Most importantly, trainees build their self-confidence as they work alongside our staff to help us prepare and deliver meals to the critically ill, giving their job-training experience purpose, and connecting them to the communities in which they live. This year our Teaching Kitchen program will serve 40 trainees.
- Build our Volunteer Program: As one of the largest volunteer programs in the area, Community Servings welcomes 850 volunteers per month to work in our kitchen, deliver meals, and help with our fundraising efforts. Together, these supporters donate over 60,000 hours of free labor each year to care for our sick clients - the equivalent of 30 full time employees.
- Meals for Many Social Enterprise Program: Since our relocation to our new facility, we have begun a social enterprise program designed to subsidize our free meals service. Through this business model, we are using the increased capacity of our new state-of-the-art nutrition facility to provide healthy, nutritious, and affordable meals to nonprofits, schools, and agencies that work with other nutritionally vulnerable populations such as children and the elderly. We currently prepare over 600 meals per day for local schools and nonprofits.
- Technical Assistance Program: We offer technical assistance to programs providing food and nutrition services locally, nationally and internationally. Our leadership role in the Association of Nutrition Services Agencies (ansanutrition.org) has helped to improve nutrition programs here in the US and around the world. We also offer more focused TA support to individual agencies on a contract basis. We are particularly interested in fostering the development of new nutrition programs in underserved communities throughout New England.
- Local Foods Program: Recognizing that local foods are generally healthier and more appetizing, Community Servings has launched a variety of local foods initiatives to benefit both our sick clients and Jamaica Plain residents, addressing the "food desert" in our urban neighborhood. We are committed to using fresh, local ingredients in our kitchen, and aim to support and collaborate with local farmers, fishermen and food producers. We are also excited to market local produce and fish to our neighbors, encouraging our vendors to donate their surplus food to us in exchange.
- Step Forward Program: Working in partnership with the Massachusetts Parole Board we welcome recent parolees into our kitchen as volunteers, helping them to successfully re-enter their communities while searching for employment. One of the first programs of its type in the nation, Step Forward offers ex-offenders the opportunity to gain valuable food service skills and experience while providing Community Servings with an additional source of volunteers to help prepare and package meals for the critically ill. These "Kitchen Interns" volunteer in our Jamaica Plain facility apply for our Teaching Kitchen job-training program, or move directly into employment.