Open Letter from Carrie Stoltzfus, Executive Director of Food & Friends

- January 14, 2019

As I start my time as Executive Director of Food & Friends, I want to let you know how grateful I am for you – our amazing community of staff, referral partners, volunteers and supporters! In my 15 years with Food & Friends, I have witnessed your commitment to our mission every single day. You are the spirit of Food & Friends vision: Anyone can get sick and everyone can help. Thank you!

At the core of our mission, Food & Friends believes that everyone who is seriously ill should have the nourishment they need to manage their illness. Through your partnership, we help clients feel better, connect them to their community, and empower them to manage their illness. The nutritious, specialized meals we deliver to our clients’ homes have offered hope to thousands, but in reality we have just scratched the surface. I am committed to delivering our mission to even more neighbors in need. And, I am excited to share my goals for the coming year with you.

Serve clients with a wider array of illnesses. In early 2019, Food & Friends will expand our nutritionally tailored meal service to area residents living with a wider array of illnesses, including heart failure, ALS, Parkinson’s, COPD and others. Working with the medical community and our peers, we’ve laid the groundwork for this expansion. You may not be aware that Food & Friends has also begun new partnerships to serve other nutritionally at-risk populations, including expectant mothers facing high-risk pregnancies due to gestational diabetes or pre-eclampsia. During this growth, we remain committed to our clients living with HIV/AIDS and cancer. We’re proud to take the lessons we’ve learned over decades of service and apply them to an even greater community in need.

Raise the profile of medically tailored meals. Food & Friends’ core service is a unique intervention delivered through medically tailored meals and nutrition counseling. This approach is part of a growing field, but not everyone is familiar with its benefits in managing illness and treatment symptoms and in improving health outcomes. It is vital that more patients know about the free services available to them. Even more importantly, health professionals need more guidance in helping their patients overcome barriers to good health, like access to healthy food. By hosting medical students from regional medical schools and providing learning opportunities to future doctors and social workers, we’re helping to train a new generation of health leaders who can treat disease in the context of nutrition, food security, poverty and other social problems.

Better serve our farther away neighbors. The logistics of serving individuals in the farther reaches of Maryland and Virginia are challenging, but we are committed to ensuring a high-quality service no matter where someone lives. We are exploring innovative shifts in our delivery operations to maximize impact and give all of our neighbors the care they deserve.

Lastly, I’m committed to preserving quality and excellence as we grow. For 30 years, Food & Friends has been a leader in the community. At every level of operation – from food planning and preparation, to nutrition education and workshops, from volunteer coordination to special events – we are committed to the highest standards of quality and excellence. Safety, trustworthiness and dependability in all aspects of our operations are the cornerstones of our services. As we take on new diseases, new services and new challenges, we remain accountable to our clients, donors, volunteers, staff and the public with unwavering integrity.

In the coming months, as I meet many of you in my new role, I hope you’ll share your thoughts and stories about Food & Friends. You are an important partner in our work. It is the experiences of our clients, volunteers and community of supporters that drive us forward. I look forward to seeing what we can do together in the future. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via email at Cstoltzfus@foodandfriends.org.

I’m proud every day to be a part of this organization. Here’s to a great year ahead.

With gratitude,
Carrie Stoltzfus, MPH
Executive Director

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