What they do: Healing Meals Community Project was started in 2016 to provide nutritious meals to individuals facing health crises. The organization was founded by Sarah Leathers whose sister, Cathryn Couch, founded Ceres Community Project, another organization that provides medically tailored meals. Healing Meals Community Project, based in the Hartford area, believes that young people should play a key role in shaping a healthier future. Based on this belief, the organization involves youth volunteers in preparing all of the meals it provides to individuals and families in crisis. Healing Meals hopes that participating teens will develop a stronger sense of connection to their community and feel inspired to take additional action to improve the lives of their neighbors.
How they do it: Healing Meals exposes youth volunteers to every step in the process of creating nutritious food, from gardening and harvesting produce to preparing and delivering meals. Working alongside adult mentors and the program’s executive chef, youth volunteers create meals to support families for 12 weeks as they manage hospital stays, medical treatment, mental health crises, and acute chronic conditions. Each week, volunteer “Delivery Angels” delivers four entrees per person as well as servings of soup, salad, and broth to the households of individuals suffering from critical illnesses.
Mission: To provide healthy organic meals to people in a health crisis while fostering compassion and empowering youth and adult volunteers in their communities.
Latest project/campaign: Healing Meals hosted their largest fundraiser on October 9, 2021, with a marathon, half marathon, and charity 5k. Over 85 runners and walkers participated and raised over $120,000 for Healing Meals. Participants can register to fundraise or make a donation. All of the funds raised will go toward supporting families experiencing health crises and providing a nurturing environment for youth volunteers to learn and grow.
Major Funding: Fundraisers and Events
Annual Budget: $785,000
Interesting fact about how it is working to positively affect the food system: In 2019, Healing Meals’ commitment to serving 100 percent organic meals to its customers attracted the support of Whole Foods Market. Chefs at two of the grocery chain’s Connecticut locations created five prepared dishes inspired by the organization, with $1 for every pound sold going to Healing Meals.
Healing Meals Community Project
140 Nod Road
Simsbury, CT 06070
Number of staff: 13
Number of volunteers: 600
Areas served: Greater Hartford Area
Year Started: 2016
Founder and CEO: Sarah Leathers
Contact Information: firstname.lastname@example.org