Living through a pandemic has tested us all and left us uncertain about the next steps and how to plan our lives. How does a nonprofit, which counts on fundraisers as a revenue stream, plan on securing the funds it needs to support its mission? The Meals 4 Health and Healing program of The Heimerdinger Foundation has known all along that its mission is an essential one. Continuing to serve nutrient-dense meals free of charge to people in our community who are in cancer treatment has never been more important. The medically fragile are at particularly high risk during such a pandemic and need the immune-boosting, anti-inflammatory meals that are tailored just for them to promote healing and healthy immunity.
That’s why as the date for our annual Hope For Healing fundraiser was approaching, it was clear that raising funds for this mission could not be postponed. Cancer isn’t postponed and the need for daily nutrition and education about that nutrition is not postponed; it’s critical and vital to healing. Compassion, caring, and generosity of spirit are not postponed; they are heartening and a lifeline to counter isolation during these heart-breaking times.
Each week, through Meals 4 Health and Healing, volunteer teens and adults prepare meals for up to 60 individuals. A typical food bag includes two to three healthy organic proteins such as chicken, cod, or salmon; grain proteins such as quinoa and millet; lentils and organic vegetables; rich leafy greens; and nutritious soups – all anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting foods endorsed by the American Institute for Cancer Research for people seeking anti-cancer foods. Our program’s signature weekly dish is a golden mineral broth made from cooked, organic root vegetables.
In addition to a “food is medicine” approach, Meal 4 Health and Healing wraps a caring community around participants in its program. The weekly greeting cards in food bags, calls from our Client Manager, and deliveries of nourishing and flavorful food delivered by volunteer Delivery Angels add a personal touch. While the program is free of charge for the first 12 weeks, the value of participation in the program is inestimable and the gifts are priceless.
While the program’s primary focus is to provide nutrient-rich food to people during treatment – one of the hardest times of their lives – an additional priority is to educate about healthy eating for life. We like to think this program supports cancer patients during the acute phase of their diagnosis, but it can change someone’s perspective for life and make a vital difference in their survivorship too. Our teen and adult volunteers also learn firsthand how to prepare immune-boosting foods for a lifetime.
Turning our traditional, annual event of gathering hundreds of people together in support of our work into a virtual fundraiser was a necessary adjustment given the current circumstances. This year, our Hope For Healing No-Show event will take place as a fundraising campaign from June 1 to June 13. The event is virtual but the need is real. Rather than spending money on tickets, parking, and a night out on the town, consider supporting our cause and making a donation at hfmeals.org or text-to-donate by texting 797979 HFMEALS. Follow the inspiration on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.