For eight years Lucy Cavallo a resident of Revere since 1964, has been receiving her meals weekly, straight to her door, through Community Servings. Behind each hand delivered meal is a specialized diet that caters to her diabetes and chronic kidney disease to help her stay healthy.
“My food has to be bland because it can’t have sodium at all,” said Cavallo. “But the food is very good and they have a great variety!”
Each week Community Servings prepares and delivers 9,600 meals to individuals and families who are home- bound and living with critical and chronic illnesses. All the meals are made from scratch and are tailored to meet the nutritional and medical needs of clients who are fighting illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, cancer, multiple sclerosis and more.
In Revere, they have been serving people since 1999 and currently have 40 clients. In the past, the Revere High School was involved in making holiday baskets for their clients from 2005 to 2015, as well as selling pies from 2009 to 2014.
For Cavallo who is a retired director of activities at a nursing home along with a director of an adult day program, started using Community Servings when her husband developed cancer and since she was his primary caregiver she got put on it too.
When her husband passed away in December of 2007 she was happy to hear that she could go back on it.
“I think it is easier because they deliver in once a week,” said Cavallo, as opposed to Meals on Wheals where you have to be there every day to receive them. “They are very convenient.”
Cavollo added by saying, “I would recommend it too!”
Community Servings be- gan in 1989 by a coalition of AIDS activists, faith groups, and community organizations that home-delivered meals to 30 people to those living with HIV/AIDS.
“People were dying from malnutrition trying to fight the illness,” said Tim Leahy the vice president of development and communications at Community Servings. “Food is medicine.”
Now, in it’s 24 year they have grown into a regional program that serves clients in 18 cities and towns who are battling more than 35 different types of illnesses. Over 90 percent of their clients live in poverty.
In June 2007, they moved to a new facility in Jamaica Plain that has allowed them to increase meal capacity to produce 2,500 meals per day, improve food quality and en- gage a greater number of volunteers.
Other programs include nutrition care and education that provide information on healthy eating to specific needs. As well as job training, where they learn to cook in the kitchen while helping to make food for the clients along with increasing access to healthy and local food through partnerships with local farmers and purveyors.
Leahy explained that his clients are homebound and alone. If they have a caregiver they are probably exhausted. By having these meals delivered that are easy enough to stick in the microwave to warm up makes all the difference.
“It’s like a neighbor taking care of your neighbor,” said Leahy. “In a big city all of the people don’t know their neighbors but it’s like taking a casserole over to a neighbor that is sick.”
The next big upcoming event is Pie in the Sky, the 24th annual Thanksgiving bake sale, where chefs from 150 restaurants throughout greater Boston bake and donate pies that are sold in advance of Thanksgiving.
Pies sell for $30 each or the equivalent to one week of meals for a homebound client can be picked up at over 100 locations before the holiday. Last year they sold 21,000 pies and raised $765,000.
“Of course,” Leahy said, “Community Servings is always looking for more volunteers.”