Food & Friends (2019)

Food & Friends 

Washington, D.C. 

Founded in 1988 in the District of Columbia, Food & Friends began in a church basement with 20 volunteers to deliver meals to friends and loved ones dying of AIDS. Over time, services were extended into Virginia and Delaware and the mission was expanded to include people living with with cancer and other life-challenging illnesses who could benefit from specialized meals and nutrition counseling.

Food & Friends will use the $15,000 grant to support its Specialized Nutrition for Seriously Ill Seniors program. This highly specialized program includes the preparation, packaging and delivery of medically-tailored meals and groceries, nutrition counseling for seniors with a serious, chronic illness such as cancer, HIV/AIDS, or diabetes. Most clients live alone and welcome the contact with Food & Friends volunteers.

At 71, Lorraine was coping with lung cancer treatment and major surgery. Doctors had removed half of her lung, slowing down a woman known around the neighborhood as a fast walker. Lorraine says, “Before Food & Friends, I had to get food from churches and other places; it was hard to get around after the surgery and really hectic. This has been a godsend.” After surgery, Lorraine had little appetite and eating was sometimes painful. Recently, however, she has been able to gain two pounds and knows she is eating better. Now, seven months after her surgery, she is back to walking and even dancing a little.

Irma was first connected with Food & Friends after her sister was diagnosed with breast cancer. Following her sister’s diagnosis, she became the sole caregiver. In time, Irma could only leave the house to get food when there was someone to sit with her ill sister. As expected, leaving her sister became a huge burden and it became even more difficult when Irma, herself, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Food & Friends’ frequent meal deliveries not only alleviated stress but also helped the two sisters celebrate life and spend quality time together. “It’s something I never expected and I cherish it like gold,” said Irma of her relationship with Food & Friends. “I think they should be admired for all the work they do. It’s incredible, it’s hard to describe. It’s something I never expected in my life.”

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