Culinary Angels is a nonprofit organization that provides healing, nutrient-rich meals and nutrition education to people going through a serious health challenge. Founded in 2016 by Executive Director Lisa McNaney, the organization serves the Tri-Valley cities of Livermore, Dublin, Pleasanton, San Ramon, and Danville. Anyone, at any age or income level, who is going through a serious health challenge is eligible for meals.
Each meal includes an entree, two side dishes, a hearty soup, a healthy dessert, and, upon request, a pint of bone broth. Meals are delivered every other Wednesday and are intended to serve both the direct recipient and a caretaker. For those living outside of the Culinary Angels' delivery area, meals can be picked up at its kitchen in Pleasanton.
The nonprofit's volunteers are trained to cook with as many organic ingredients as possible and focus on nutrient-rich, plant-based, seasonal ingredients. Recipes often emphasize the use of cruciferous vegetables, sea vegetables, and homemade broths. According to its founder, Culinary Angels believes this philosophy will help promote health, wellness, and hope to people who are compromised by their challenge. Many of the group's recipes are published on its website to benefit the public at large.
"We have served over six-thousand meals throughout the five-city region to both the person going through the health challenge as well as their caregiver," says McNaney, who notes that 95% of meal recipients are actively going through cancer treatment. The nonprofit is 98% volunteer-driven, she says. "We have built an amazing volunteer community with close to one hundred volunteers who show up each week to give back. We believe in creating a community that serves each other."
Local garden partners and individual donors make it possible for Culinary Angels to provide nourishing meals to its recipients. Fertile Groundworks, Sunflower Hill, Clare's Fare, and Florescent Farms supply most of the organic produce used by the group, for example. Sunflower Hill at Irby Ranch allows Culinary Angels full use of its industrial kitchen. Those who receive the meals have offered many thanks.
"From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank you for delivering all the healthy wonderful creative meals," wrote one recipient to Culinary Angels. "Your kindness was so helpful and meant so much to my husband and me. We are very appreciative to the entire committee from shoppers, cooks, cleaners, delivery persons, and everyone who has provided their time and donations and made this possible. Now it is time to pass on our meals to someone else in need. We can honestly tell you that Culinary Angels have left an impression on us that will last forever."
For nearly five years Culinary Angels has labored to help individuals coping with a serious health challenge and plans to continue its efforts for many years to come with the continued support from local volunteers, businesses, and donors. One way to help the nonprofit continue to flourish is by attending or sponsoring Cowboys and Cabernet, the group's largest event of the year. It is scheduled for Saturday, September 11, 2021 from 6 to 10 pm at McGrail Vineyards and Winery. The event will include live music, catered barbeque, Cowboy Casino games, prizes, and much more. Culinary Angels takes safety very seriously and will be observing all CDC, state, and local guidelines as well as providing masks and enforcing their use based on health department guidelines at the time.
For more information about Culinary Angels, please visit culinaryangels.org.