Healing Foods Project

In 2013, McAuley House, in partnership with Mary Flynn, PhD, RD, L.D.N, a research dietitian at The Miriam Hospital in Providence, launched the “Healing Foods Project” to provide nutritionally dense foods and nutrition information to hungry and financially poor Rhode Islanders.


Based on the nationally-recognized plant-based, extra virgin olive oil diet designed by Dr. Flynn in 1999, the “Healing Foods Project” utilizes recipes that research has proven to have numerous health benefits. The goal of the program is to combat the diabetes, obesity and heart disease that disproportionately impact those living in poverty.


After developing the diet, Dr. Flynn’s research focused on testing how it compared to conventional lower-fat diets for improvement in body weight and risk factors for chronic diseases. Early research study participants touted that the diet’s meals were not only easy to prepare and tasted good, but were also less expensive than what they had been eating.


This promise lead Dr. Flynn to develop a 6-week cooking program using recipes that followed her plant-based, extra virgin olive oil diet for clients of food pantries in 2007. Following this, she published a study that showed when food pantry clients used her recipes for 2-3 meals each week, they experienced a decrease in food insecurity, as well as
a decrease in body weight and improvements in overall health. Additionally, participants spent significantly less on groceries, with fewer purchases of meat, snack foods, and carbonated beverages.


When Rev. Mary Margaret Earl, the former Associate Director of McAuley House read about the program and its study results, she invited Dr. Flynn to work with McAuley House to develop recipes that could be implemented in large scale for low-income, congregate meal sites. This led to the Healing Foods Project. Currently, McAuley House offers “Healing Foods Project” recipes twice weekly to our guests, and the delicious meals have been received with open arms.


In 2015, we created the “Healing Foods Project” website to make the program’s materials, cookbook and recipes available to the larger community, and to engage fellow nonprofits and meal sites working to better the lives of the hungry and poor. In addition to making the program’s large-scale recipes available online for meal sites, we have prepared family-size recipes for our friends and supporters. We invite you to visit the site and choose a recipe (or two!) to prepare at home for your family.


The “Healing Foods Project” at McAuley House would not be possible without the initiative, collaboration and support of many. We’d like to recognize those who have been instrumental in making this program come to fruition.


  • Mary M. Flynn, PhD, RD, L.D.N.
  • The Rhode Island Foundation
  • Rhode Island Community Food Bank
  • Rev. Mary Margaret Earl
  • Larry LoVerde, Kitchen Manager, McAuley House
  • Stanley Moss, Jr., Chef, McAuley House
  • Stephanie Chafee, Former First Lady, State of Rhode Island
  • Stop & Shop
  • United Natural Foods, Inc.
  • Olive del Mondo
  • California Olive Ranch
  • Claire and Jeff Black
  • Michael Fine, MD, Former Director, Rhode Island Dept. of Health
  • Martha Langer, Pear Ink Design
  • A Number of Private Donors who Wish to Remain Anonymous
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McAuley Ministries 622 Elmwood Ave Providence, RI 02907 Tel: 401-941-9013 Fax: 401-941-6862 About Us Our Ministries Giving & Sponsorship News & Events Volunteer Contact Us

McAuley Ministries

622 Elmwood Ave

Providence, RI 02907

Tel: 401-941-9013

Fax: 401-941-6862