Community Servings, Inc.

Food Heals

Jamaica Plain, MA   |  www.servings.org

Mission

Our mission is to actively engage the community to provide medically tailored, nutritious, scratch-made meals to chronically and critically ill individuals and their families. We envision a world in which everyone has access to the nutritious food they need for health and well-being as a fundamental right.

Ruling year info

1992

CEO

Mr. David B. Waters

Main address

179 Amory St.

Jamaica Plain, MA 02130 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

22-3154028

NTEE code info

Food Service, Free Food Distribution Programs (K30)

Human Service Organizations (P20)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The problems of food insecurity and inadequate nutrition are key social determinants of health that have impacts on quality of life, chronic disease prevalence and management, and healthcare costs. Before the COVID-19 crisis, it was estimated that one in ten residents in Massachusetts were affected by food insecurity. As a result of the economic impact of COVID-19, rates of food insecurity across Massachusetts have skyrocketed – according to a May 2020 report released by Feeding America, one in seven residents in Massachusetts are currently affected by food insecurity, including one in five children. Through the provision of nutritious, made-from-scratch, medically tailored meals, Community Servings addresses food insecurity as a key driver of health for the most food-insecure population: low-income individuals whose activities of daily living are limited by their critical/chronic conditions. Approximately 92% of our clients live in poverty.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Nutrition Program for Individuals and Families Affected by Critical & Chronic Illnesses

This year, Community Servings will prepare, package and deliver 800,000 medically tailored, made-from-scratch meals for 3,200 clients, their dependent children and caregivers affected by critical and chronic illnesses across Massachusetts. This represents a 40% increase in meal and client projections as compared to fiscal year 2020.

The surge in demand we are facing as a result of the COVID-19 public health crisis is a major driver of the significant, planned growth of our medically tailored meals program. Since March 2020, we have increased our production levels by 50%, from 10,000 to 15,000 meals produced each week. We expect to continue to ramp up production levels over the next year as rates of food-insecurity continue to rise to historic levels. We intend to deepen our presence in the City of Boston as well as historically disadvantaged communities across the state of Massachusetts, including many gateway cities.

Community Servings is the only provider of medically tailored meals in Massachusetts. 92% of our clients are living in poverty and 62% are from communities of color. Our clients have compromised immune systems, are mobility-impaired, and are unable to cook for themselves or access other nutritional services such as congregate meal sites or food pantries. This makes them extremely vulnerable to COVID-19. We are a lifeline for our clients on a normal day; during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, our clients and food-insecure, immunocompromised community members need us now more than ever.

Every week, we deliver five days’ worth of medically tailored lunches, dinners and snacks to the doorsteps of our severely ill clients. Each client's meals are tailored by our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists, in consultation with each client’s healthcare provider, to ensure the best possible nutrition-related health outcome. Available to our clients are 15 different types of medically tailored diets (e.g. cardiac, renal, diabetic) that address each client’s diagnosis, symptoms, allergies, medication management, and side effects. Our diets can be customized in up to three different combinations to meet our clients' individual, often complex dietary needs, as well as their individual tastes. For children, we offer a specialized “Children’s Menu” with kid-friendly menu items, which ensures the children of our clients have the food they need especially important now given that many are out of school.

Population(s) Served

Community Servings’ Teaching Kitchen program offers food service and life skills training, coupled with comprehensive case management and job development/placement support, to low-income adults facing multiple, major barriers to employment such as criminal records, substance use disorder, and homelessness. Trainees learn basic cooking skills, life skills, food sanitation and receive job placement support. Most importantly, trainees build their self-confidence as they work alongside our staff to help us prepare and deliver meals to the critically ill, giving their job-training experience purpose, and connecting them to the communities in which they live.

We have modified our Teaching Kitchen program and curriculum in a myriad of ways to support the high-need population we serve during the current COVID-19 crisis. Excitingly, to date, we have hired seven graduates of our Teaching Kitchen program, as part of the temporary workforce needed to ramp up our medically tailored meal production by 50% in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Population(s) Served

To provide increased nutritional benefits to our clients, we are committed to using fresh, local foods, while supporting and collaborating with local farmers. This year, we will expand our Local Foods program and retrieve and purchase more than 130,000lbs of local, fresh foods provided by 12 local farms, fisheries, and suppliers.

Population(s) Served

Community Servings offers nutrition education for clients and individuals in the community who are nutritionally vulnerable, with the goal of teaching participants how to maintain and improve their health through the food choices they make and techniques they use to prepare food at home. This year, our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists will provide 6,000 hours of nutrition education to 3,300 individuals through classes, workshops, phone counseling, monthly newsletters, and nutrition assessments/reassessments. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have shifted our nutrition education classes and workshops to a virtual platform, launching “Learning Kitchen Live” in June, an online video series featuring presentations and cooking demonstrations that empower participants with the skills and knowledge to improve their health.

Population(s) Served

As part of this initiative, we have undertaken robust research studies in partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine. Our largest study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine in April 2019, and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Evidence for Action program, utilized Massachusetts' insurance claims database and found that participation in a medically tailored meals program was associated with fewer hospital admissions and nursing home admissions, and less overall medical spending. The study estimated a 16.4% reduction in average monthly medical costs ($3,838 versus $4,591) for individuals receiving meals from Community Servings. This study is the most rigorous study to date that links medically tailored meal interventions to improved health outcomes and lower medical costs for high-need, high-cost patients. These research results are consistent with those of our other studies, published in the journals Health Affairs, BMC Endocrine Disorders, and the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Because of the ample evidence demonstrating the health and cost benefits of medically tailored meals, healthcare payers/providers are interested in contracting with Community Servings to serve their most nutritionally vulnerable patients. To date, we have secured 11 contracts with healthcare providers/payers that reimburse for medically tailored meals. In partnership with several healthcare providers, in April 2020, Community Servings began delivery of meals to individuals with confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19.

In June 2019, in partnership with the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School, we launched the Massachusetts Food is Medicine State Plan, the first such state plan in the country. Through listening sessions held across the state, the Massachusetts Food is Medicine State Plan collected data and engaged hundreds of individuals and agencies in the planning process. The final plan sets forth 15 policy recommendations to advance access for intrastate interventions.

Population(s) Served

Where we work

Awards

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

When individuals are ill, one of the first things to deteriorate is good nutrition, making recovery and stabilization much more difficult, if not impossible. For these individuals, the role of medically tailored nutrition cannot be overstated. Our priority is to make sure our clients do not go hungry despite the debilitating effects of a devastating illness and scarce economic resources. Our goals are to supply the acutely ill with the nutrition they need to support effective medical treatment and recovery; relieve our clients of the burdens of shopping and food preparation, and provide essential economic assistance to the 92% of our clients who are living in low-income households.

Our objectives within these goals are to:
1. Improve the health, quality of life, and ability to perform routine activities among nutritionally vulnerable primary clients, their dependent children and caregivers through the provision of culturally appropriate, medically tailored meals.
2. Offer a wide range of nutrition education services to our clients and the broader community of critically and chronically ill.
3. Expand our social justice vision by providing food-service job training to low-income trainees and partnering with local farms and farmers to use fresh local foods in our meals.

In the healthcare community, there is growing recognition of food insecurity as a key social determinant of health. Studies show that food insecurity is related to lower nutrient intakes, poorer health, and a higher probability of being hospitalized. Furthermore, poor nutrition is an important contributor to the development and management of chronic diseases, and healthcare providers, patients, and communities are increasingly recognizing the role that medically tailored nutrition has on individuals affected by critical and chronic illnesses. As a thought leader in the field of Food is Medicine, we are advocating for formal inclusion and reimbursement of medically tailored meals by healthcare providers and insurers as an innovative component of care for the severely ill. By promoting medical nutrition therapy as part of an integrated approach to holistic health, we will broaden our reach to bring our medically tailored meal intervention to individuals who need it most.

1. Expand Home-Delivery of Medically Tailored Meals: continue to expand our nutrition program, generating the resources and capacity to produce 1.2M medically tailored meals annually in our new building, reaching more low-income, severely ill individuals and their family members. This includes continuing to deepen our presence in underserved communities and regions, including many Gateway Cities. 

2. Increase Nutrition Education & Counseling: expand our on and off-site nutrition education opportunities for our clients and the broader community of critically and chronically ill.

3. Engage in “Food is Medicine” Policy Advocacy: continue to leverage our expertise in the fields of nutrition and health to advance the integration of medically tailored meals into healthcare payment and delivery models. Conduct additional research that further supports the impact of our home-delivered medically tailored meal model on health outcomes and cost savings.

History and Expertise: Over our 30-year history, Community Servings has provided more than 9 million medically tailored meals to thousands of individuals with critical and chronic illnesses. Community Servings is unique within the region; no other agency provides comparable medically tailored meals, particularly with regard to the diversity of chronic disease populations served and the number, variety, and combinations of medically tailored meals offered. 

Recognition for our Work: Nationally, Community Servings has received the respect of colleagues in our field and public recognition for our work. We regularly present data on our nutrition model at national conferences including the 2019 Root Cause Coalition Conference, MIT Sloan’s Designing for Health Conference, and the 2019 New England Farm to Institution Summit. Furthermore, we have published the results of three research publications in the academic journals JAMA- Internal Medicine, Health Affairs and the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Our evidence-based research was featured in a May 2018 Food is Medicine Congressional Briefing on Capitol Hill and in the Associated Press, Boston Globe and other major outlets.

Food is Medicine Thought Leadership & Collaborations: Through our Food and Health Policy Initiative, we have deepened our engagement in “food is medicine” in Massachusetts and nationally. For the past seven years, we have co-hosted an annual “Food is Medicine Symposium” at Harvard Law School, bringing speakers from across the country to present research and best practices in the field. Recognizing the value of Food is Medicine interventions among the nutritionally vulnerable, Community Servings partnered with The Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School to launch the Massachusetts Food is Medicine Statewide Plan in June 2019. The plan aims to increase access to medically tailored Food is Medicine interventions across the state by convening healthcare providers, payers, and policy leaders and conducting cutting-edge research over the next year.

Research: As part of our food and health policy initiative, we recently completed four research projects and results provide compelling evidence that our medically tailored meals can provide a cost-effective critical-care nutrition intervention for the severely ill.

Funding Partners: Thousands of individual donors, foundations such as the Yawkey Foundation and the Cummings Foundation, along with corporate donors and sponsors including Citizens Bank, Liberty Mutual and State Street provide the resources needed to meet the demands of our mission.

Volunteers: To accomplish our mission, we typically welcome 8,000 unique volunteers who donate more than 50,000 hours annually. Since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the number of volunteers we have been able to host has been reduced significantly to ensure the safety of our building.

The publication of our four research studies has been transformative for Community Servings. This body of outcomes-based research is strengthening our case with new and current insurers who are contracting with us for our medically tailored meals to lower the health costs and improve health outcomes for their patients. By building the evidence base for our nutrition model, we are making a compelling return-on-investment (ROI) case to expand contracts within healthcare. This expands our ability to bring our medically tailored meal model to those who are sick and food insecure. We have partnerships with 11 insurers to deliver medically tailored meals to their most vulnerable patients. Looking ahead, we will continue to work to integrate home-delivered meals into the health care delivery system as a matter of good public health and cost containment.

Building on these research and policy efforts, Community Servings partnered with The Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School to launch the Massachusetts Food is Medicine Statewide Plan, the first such state plan in the nation. The plan aims to increase access to medically tailored Food is Medicine interventions across the state by convening healthcare providers, payers, and policy leaders and conducting cutting-edge research over the next year.

Our nutrition program continues to experience significant growth. In fiscal year 2020, we served more than 575,000 medically tailored, made-from-scratch meals to 2,287 clients, their dependent children and caregivers affected by critical and chronic illness. The COVID-19 public health crisis resulted in skyrocketing rates of food insecurity across Massachusetts, creating immediate, urgent demand for our medically tailored meals. Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, we have increased our weekly meal production by 50%, from 10,000 to 15,000 meals prepared and delivered each week for our critically and chronically ill clients and community members. We anticipate the demand will continue to rise as the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis intensifies.

In December 2019, we completed the construction of our new 31,000 square foot “Food Campus.” We have been able to leverage every square foot of this space since the onset of the COVID-19 crisis to increase meal production while accommodating social distancing protocols to ensure the safety of our staff, clients, and community.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Paper surveys, Case management notes, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    In response to client feedback as well as updated nutritional standards as recommended by the Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA, our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists revamped our medically tailored meal diets in 2019. This includes the addition of a Pescatarian diet choice (a vegetarian diet that includes fish) and the modification and elimination of a few diets. The resulting 15 diets (e.g. cardiac, renal), which can be combined in up to three different diet combinations, are more closely aligned with nutritional recommendations as it applies to the management of specific illnesses, and are better able to meet our clients’ nutritional needs and preferences.

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback,

Financials

Community Servings, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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Community Servings, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 8/12/2020
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Mr. Peter Zane

Diane Moes

Partner, Donaghue Barrett & Singal, PC

Gary Sherr

Principal Owner Carl P. Sherr & Co, LLC

Michela Larson

Michela Larson, LLC

Amy Gorin

Community Activist

Larry Moulter

UMASS Boston

Beverly Edgehill

The TJX Companies, Inc.

Rick Musiol

New England Aquarium

Ken Tutunjian

Coldwell Banker

Liliana Bachrach

Community Leader

Maureen Goggin

Partners Healthcare

Eric Weil

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Garrett Harker

Eastern Standard/Island Creek

Thea James

Boston Medical Center / Boston University School of Medicine

Diane Leclair

Greenberg, Rosenblatt, Kull & Bitsoli, P.C.

J. Kirk Smith

Sharon McNally

Camp Harbor View Foundation / Connors Family Office

Brian Lagarto

SharkNinja

Lyzzette Bullock

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts

Catherine Matthews

Old North Church

Fredi Shonkoff

Executive & Leadership Coach

Aretha Davis

Nous Foundation

Dave Farwell

Citizens Bank

Mehrdad Noorani

Malisa Schuyler

Beth Israel Lahey Health

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 08/12/2020

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/25/2020

Policies and practices developed in partnership with Equity in the Center, a project that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems within the social sector to increase racial equity. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.