HEALING MEALS COMMUNITY PROJECT RELOCATES KITCHEN
Organization’s Growth in First Year Necessitates a Larger Facility
In less than a year and a half, Healing Meals Community Project has grown so big, it has relocated its kitchen. On May 22, 2017, the organization moved from New England Pasta Company to The North House; both locations are in Avon, Connecticut.
“When we began cooking back in March 2016, we never thought we’d need to move this quickly,” says Healing Meals Community Project CEO and Founder Sarah Leathers. “The energy of who we are as an organization was created at New England Pasta Company (NEPC), and we could never have achieved such incredible success in our first year without the generosity, support, adventurous spirit, and friendship of owners Kim and Scott Morrison who welcomed us into their kitchen and café every week, allowing us to use all of their equipment and space for free. Grateful doesn’t even begin to describe how we feel.”
When Sarah Leathers and her team of volunteers launched Healing Meals Community Project in the fall of 2015, they knew two things – one, the community greatly needed healing and support for families struggling with cancer, auto-immune disease and other life-changing health issues; and two, they had the knowledge, skills, and inspiration to make a difference. With a goal to serve 4,600 meals to families in need during its first year, Healing Meals began cooking at NEPC in March 2016. They estimated that if they could achieve their first year’s goal, they would increase it to 7,800 for the second year.
In April, at the Healing Meals Community Project one year anniversary celebration, the organization announced it had nearly met its two year goal in just 12 months. In its first year, Healing Meals served more than 7,000 meals!
Acknowledging the tremendous need for its services in the community and having the volunteer support to far exceed its original goals, Healing Meals quickly found itself in need of a larger kitchen facility. Luckily, the organization has found just the right space at The North House. Volunteers prepared their first meals there the first weekend in June.
“Needing a new kitchen partner was not even on our 2-3 year radar – we credit and thank our amazing volunteers and generous donors who have believed in us since day one,” says Leathers. “We are very fortunate to be welcomed by The Chabot Family at The North House who have given us the opportunity to grow and support more families.”
For six months prior to the kitchen relocation, the First Church of Simsbury donated its kitchen for a weekly Friday afternoon meal preparation shift, allowing Healing Meals to serve more families each week. Healing Meals is grateful to Nancy Yannopoulos and the First Church mission board for their generous gift.
About Healing Meals Community Project
Founded in 2015 by Simsbury resident Sarah Leathers, Healing Meals Community Project is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves 100 percent organic meals free to families in the Farmington Valley and Hartford County who are going through health crises. Youth volunteers between the ages of 14 and 24 not only prepare the meals – they develop leadership, job, and work-ready lifetime skills while learning about healthy eating, the power of their food choices, and the importance of supporting their community. Healing Meals Community Project is the ninth affiliate of the Ceres Community Project, based in California. To learn more, visit www.HealingMealsProject.org.