Simsbury resident Gayle Murphy has a stack of cards that she has been saving for the past three months. She had them on display for every week that she received a food delivery from Healing Meals Community Project (HMCP), and now she takes them out to remind herself of how far she’s come. “Cancer may still be part of my life,” says Murphy, “but it hasn’t taken my life.” Murphy shares that Healing Meals has been her lifeline, and “every bit as much a part of my treatment for endometrial cancer as was my surgery, my radiation and my after-care.”
The stack of cards Murphy refers to are the well wishes that accompanied each of her Healing Meals food deliveries, lovingly written by the volunteers who helped to prepare and deliver the food this past winter. Murphy credits the organic, tasty and nutritious food and immune broth for healing her from the inside out, as well as for allowing her husband and five-year old son to eat well and not have to worry about meal preparation.
Named a Hartford Courant “Hometown Hero” in 2016, Simsbury’s Healing Meals Community Project recently received $4,500 in grant funding from two Hartford Foundation donor-advised funds. Five-hundred dollars for general operating support was received from the Albert and Elizabeth Bourget Fund, and $4,000 was received from an anonymous donor in support of a partnership between the Healing Meals Community Project (HMCP) and West Granby’s Holcomb Farm, Inc. Fresh Access Program.
Healing Meals Community Project is a nonprofit organization that provides 100 percent organic nourishing meals for those dealing with a health crisis that, because of their serious medical diagnoses, have difficulty cooking, shopping and preparing healthy meals. It prepares and delivers meals for everyone in the family for 14 weeks, free of charge. Since March 2016, Healing Meals has served more than 15,000 meals to more than 150 families in the Greater Hartford area, all prepared by youth volunteers ages 14 to 22.
West Granby resident and Northwest Catholic High School freshman Jacob Hanelius says that, besides needing to clock 25 volunteer hours, his nine months of volunteering at Healing Meals “has changed my way of thinking about helping others.” Patch Barnard, a junior at Simsbury High School shares, “Even though I started out volunteering at Healing Meals because of service hours, I have stayed with it for almost two years now because I love it. The people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had at Healing Meals has not only changed my life, but the lives of so many others right here in our community.”
The partnership between Healing Meals and Holcomb Farm, Inc. proves that the sum of two parts is greater than its whole. The Friends of Holcomb Farm’s Fresh Access program provides quality, local, chemical-free produce to HMCP’s immune-compromised clients; these clients require the cleanest food possible. The $4,000 in donor-advised funds will allow this partnership to grow. It will also help these nonprofits purchase the equipment necessary to ferment and dehydrate food, which is picked at peak in the fall and then used during the winter months. Not only does natural fermentation improve digestion, but dehydrated vegetables also retain 100 percent of their calorie content, have increased storage life, and take up half of the storage space.
“Holcomb Farm is grateful for the grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving. The grant will allow us to expand our ability to help the Healing Meals Community Project serve families in need. We are excited about the opportunity to grow the Fresh Access program in such a meaningful way,” says Mark Fiorentino, Vice President Holcomb Farm Board and Fresh Access Program.
You too can give almost anywhere, anytime, to any charity of your choice. To start your own donor-advised fund, contact Deborah Rothstein, J.D., Hartford Foundation’s vice president for development at 860-548-1888, x1019.
The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving is the community foundation for Hartford and 28 surrounding communities. Made possible by the gifts of generous individuals, families and organizations, the Foundation has awarded grants of more than $720 million since its founding in 1925. For more information about the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, visit www.hfpg.org or call 860-548-1888.