Culinary Angels is an all-volunteer, donation-based organization that delivers mostly organic and locally sourced meals free of charge throughout Livermore, Dublin, and Pleasanton to people going through a serious health challenge. About 95% of meal recipients are receiving cancer treatment. The meals delivered include two soups, an entree, two side dishes, a nutritious dessert, and, upon request, a quart of healthful bone broth, according to Executive Director Lisa McNaney, who founded the nonprofit.
"We provide meals not only for the person going through the health challenge but also their caregiver as we believe these people need nutritional support as well," says McNaney. "We have many recipients tell us how helpful it is to not have to worry about meals the week we deliver."
Culinary Angels cooks every other week and delivers ready-to-reheat-and-eat meals directly to the homes of recipients. One cooking cycle involves about 45 volunteers working over a five-day span. The organization's maximum capacity per cooking cycle is 75 clients; currently it has about 60 clients.
Two Livermore nonprofits, Fertile Groundworks and Sunflower Hill Gardens, supply most of the produce used by Culinary Angels. First Presbyterian Church Livermore has also partnered with Culinary Angels. The church provides the industrial kitchen where meals are made as well as the nonprofit status that makes the organization possible.
Volunteers are trained to cook with as many organic ingredients as possible and focus on nutrient-rich, plant-based, seasonal ingredients. Emphasis is placed on using cruciferous vegetables, sea vegetables, and homemade broths in soups, according to Culinary Angels. All the vegetables that go into meals are organic and locally cultivated.
"Our portion sizes are large, and we have recently started providing an additional frozen soup for people to eat later in the week," notes McNaney. "When someone is dealing with their health, it is nice to not have to think about cooking. We have taken the worry and effort out of having to think about what foods will support and fortify their bodies."
The many testimonials from grateful recipients illustrate the importance of the work done by Culinary Angels. As one person wrote, "The food was superb! As a full time caregiver, I cannot express how much these meals meant to me. Thank you so very much for the love."
Since its founding in November 2016, Culinary Angels has more than doubled the number of people it serves, year over year, as well as doubled the number of volunteers who support the organization's mission. Volunteers play key roles by picking up produce, shopping, making broth, preparing the ingredients, cooking, packaging, and delivering the meals that make life so much easier for cancer patients and others facing serious health challenges.
"We are always looking for both recipients and donors," notes McNaney, who says she appreciates the many donors who make Culinary Angels possible by supporting the organization with online donations or as part of its the annual autumn fundraiser. "We are a mighty group that has so much fun giving back."
For more information about Culinary Angels, please visit https://culinaryangels.org .