In 2013 McAuley House, in partnership with Mary Flynn, PhD, RD launched the “Healing Foods Project,” to provide nutritionally dense foods and nutrition information to hungry and financially poor Rhode Islanders. The goal is combatting the diabetes, obesity and heart disease that disproportionately impact those living in poverty.
“In the United States, where 50 million people go hungry, we see those living in poverty too often sick with life-style based diseases,” said McAuley Ministries Executive Director Don Wolfe. “People who are poor aren’t armed with information they need to be healthier and feel better. We want to change that.”
With a pilot grant from the Rhode Island Foundation, McAuley House began working with Flynn, a nutritionist, Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University and nutrition researcher at the Miriam Hospital.
Flynn advocates an olive-oil, plant-based diet to combat diabetes and other preventable illnesses- and help stretch food dollars.
The program is based upon work Flynn launched with the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in developing Raising the Bar on Nutrition, to help pantry clients eat healthier and stretch food dollars.
“I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the wonderful, dedicated staff of McAuley House and to have the support of the RI Foundation,” Mary Flynn said. “Decreasing hunger/ food insecurity is an issue that is very important to me. I am grateful for this opportunity to work with McAuley House to bring healthy, low-cost meals to their guests.”
Currently, McAuley House offers meals based upon Flynn’s recipes twice weekly. Flynn also is teaching cooking classes to guest with diabetes.
A program goal is making recipes, nutritional outcomes, and practices available to other meal sites and congregate food settings.
The project was endorsed by community leaders at a May 2013 kickoff. Leaders including Rhode Island’s First Lady Stephanie Chafee, founder of the Rhode Island Free Clinic; Dr. Michael Fine, director of the Rhode Island Department of Health; Andrew Schiff, CEO of the Rhode Island Community Food Bank, and Jessica David, Vice President of Strategy and Public Affairs at the Rhode Island Foundation.
Mrs. Chafee, who worked for many years in nursing and healthcare, consulted with McAuley Ministries during the project development.
“This program has the opportunity to help transform the health of people who are living in difficult situations,” she said at the news conference. “Finally, they’re going to have an opportunity to learn how to eat and heal their bodies.”
McAuley Ministries is grateful for support for the Healing Foods Project from:
Rhode Island Foundation
Stop & Shop
United Natural Foods Inc.
Olive del Mondo
Private Donors and Supporters
CLICK HERE To see some of our guests’ favorite Healing Foods Recipes
CLICK HERE To Support Programs like the Healing Foods Projects and Other McAuley Ministries’ Initiatives