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Food & Friends Serves Up its 20 Millionth Meal

November 3, 2016

CONTACT: Abigail Seiler

(202) 269-6875 or 443-854-4368


November 3, 2016—Today, Food & Friends reached a new milestone—serving its 20 millionth home delivered meal to a client battling a serious disease. Started in 1988, the nutrition services organization delivers free, medically-specialized meals and groceries to DC area residents living with HIV/AIDS, cancer or other serious illnesses.

“Much has changed at Food & Friends over the years – we’ve expanded services, grown into new facilities, evolved our menu – but the personal impact of serving a meal to a neighbor remains a cornerstone of our work. It’s a communal act that, no matter how many times you do it, never fades in its importance,” said Craig Shniderman, Executive Director of Food & Friends.

In the early days of Food & Friends, during the height of the AIDS crisis, the organization focused on providing compassion and calories to community members living with AIDS, often ostracized and nearing the end of their lives. Today, the organization also responds to the needs of adults and children living with cancer and other serious illnesses. The meals take into account a broader range of dietary needs resulting from a client’s illness or treatments and unique combination of health considerations.

“Our clients’ needs often look different than in the past. They still have an acute need for our service, but also have complex additional health issues. For instance, we know that folks with HIV are also at greater risk for heart failure and diabetes than the general population. Over the course of 20 million meals, our food has come a long way in addressing that complexity,” said Carrie Stoltzfus, Director of Program Services.

The meals Food & Friends provide to its clients are not only essential nourishment, but are carefully developed based on current research to improve health outcomes and overall wellbeing. For example, Food & Friends features pureed or soft meal plans to help those with difficulty chewing or swallowing, and can also address a client’s broader health needs with diabetic, renal, or heart healthy meal plans.

Food & Friends’ staff of registered dietitians and trained chefs have worked together closely over the years to shift our meals and grocery programs toward what’s commonly known as a Mediterranean Diet, focusing on fresh vegetables, whole grains, healthy oils, and lean meats and seafood.

“While this shift incurs higher costs and more prep time in the kitchen, the benefits to our clients are undeniable,” said Food & Friends Executive Chef Mark Locraft. “We’re committed to cooking more healthy and tailored food for our clients to ensure their greatest chances for a long and healthful life.”

The 20 million meals prepared by Food & Friends have been possible through the work of tens of thousands of dedicated members of the community. The organization is sincerely grateful to its volunteers, donors and community supporters whose generosity makes its work possible.

ABOUT FOOD & FRIENDS: Food & Friends is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization that provides home-delivered, specialized meals and nutrition counseling to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses. Food & Friends’ services are free-of-charge to recipients who qualify solely based on their health status and nutritional need. Monday-Saturday, including holidays, staff and volunteers deliver to 5,300 square miles including the District of Columbia, seven counties in Maryland, and seven counties and six independent cities in Virginia. Since 1988, Food & Friends has delivered more than 19 million meals to 28,700 individuals. For more information, please visit www.foodandfriends.org, Facebook (/foodandfriends), Twitter (@foodandfriends) or Instagram (@foodandfriendsdc).