Imagine you are leaving the hospital after receiving treatment, walking into your home, you are tired, you know you need to eat healthily, but you have little desire or capacity to make anything for yourself or your family. Now imagine a friendly volunteer with a warm smile delivering directly to your door, some wonderful Immune Broth and healing meals to help you rebuild your strength.
Our founder, Sarah Leathers has always been driven to help a neighbor in need. The results her sister’s non-profit, Ceres Community Project, an organization dedicated to supporting people struggling with a serious health challenge, motivated her to really understand the benefits of organic food combined with a caring community. Graduating from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition as a Certified Health and Wellness Coach deepened her understanding that good food really can be medicine. So, while most people would bring a casserole to a family struggling with an illness, Sarah would bring Immune Broth & Nourishing Connections Cookbook.
In the Fall of 2015, Sarah received a call from her sister letting her know that there would be a one-week affiliate training class at Ceres. It was now time for her to put a team together and take her passion to help others to the next level. She made three phone calls (Ellen Palmer, Emily Safino, Ellen Deutsch) and each woman immediately said, “I’m in, I’ll be on your team.” By the Spring of 2016, Healing Meals Community Foundation was officially launched.
Healing Meals was built on three certainties:
- Nutrient-rich food is a necessary part of a person’s overall well-being.
- Young people must be central participants in shaping our collective future.
- When individuals are linked to their community, they have an overall sense of connection.
Our dual mission drives us to deliver on those beliefs. We provide healthy organic meals to people in a health crisis while fostering compassion and empowering youth and adult volunteers in our communities.
We prepare and deliver delicious, organic meals for families dealing with a serious health crisis. We cook for the entire family for 12 weeks. Uniquely, all our nutrient-rich meals are prepared by youth volunteers working alongside Adult Mentors and our Executive Chef. Each week these delicious and nutritious meals are conveniently delivered right to our client’s doors by volunteer Delivery Angels.
We are the only non-profit in Connecticut that experientially teaches about healthy foods from ‘start to finish.’ Volunteers have the opportunity to harvest produce from our organic Healing Garden, prep food, cook, package and deliver healing meals; the experience is transformational for everyone involved. We believe that if we apply creativity and innovation to each aspect of our organization, we will be able to grow a sustainable non-profit and meet the needs of the community we serve.
We strive to balance ‘old-fashioned’ community values with original and innovative approaches to solving problems. By bringing together youth and adult volunteers, cross-generational creativity and respect become ingrained in our culture. Volunteers are given the opportunity to learn how to cook and eat healthy food as well as understand the power of their food choices. They understand how to build healthier communities and a healthier environment. Additionally, youth gain leadership skills and experience the joy and satisfaction of supporting a “neighbor” in need.
To learn more, please take a look at this 90-second video created for us by Alvaro de la Cruz: