‘Food is Medicine’: Local Nonprofit Provides Free Meals to Chronically Ill

By David Bloch | 09/25/2014

Boston-based food nonprofit Community Servings is dedicated to providing free, locally-sourced, healthy meals to the people they serve – those debilitated with critical and chronic illnesses. Their goals are to help clients “maintain their health and dignity and preserve the integrity of their families through free, culturally appropriate, home-delivered meals.”

Community Servings

In addition to their home delivery program, they provide nutrition education and counseling, a food-service job training initiative, a volunteer program, and a social enterprise venture that helps to subsidize their free meals. They have also utilized over 20 years of experience to offer technical assistance and guidance to similar programs across the country.

Founded in 1989 by HIV/AIDS activists and other community groups, Community Servings has evolved and grown to serve nearly 1,500 people of various illnesses, and operates out of a new, state-of-the-art facility in Jamaica Plain.

CEO David Waters told Worcester Magazine today:

“These are all people who, because of illness, are unable to walk to a store or stand at a stove. We are going to feed them as long as they’re sick. We help them get back on their feet.”

Executive chef Kevin Conner, despite the difficulty of preparing so many meals a day while heavily relying on volunteers, enjoys the challenges that come with his job:

“It is the most challenging position I’ve ever had, but it is the most rewarding,’ Conner says, who starts each day seeing what food is on hand, what staff he has and identifying the needs of that week’s clients. “The challenge is more of a good thing than a bad thing. It’s tremendously challenging, but extremely fun every day. I really believe in our mission. I believe what we’re doing is good for our clients.”

“I still can’t believe [this model] isn’t everywhere. People here really believe in the mission. What we’re doing is really changing people’s lives.”


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