Since 1985, God's Love We Deliver has provided medically tailored meals and nutritional counseling to people in the New York metropolitan area living with severe and chronic illnesses such as HIV/AIDS, cancer, cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer's disease, and other conditions.
With the help of more than 16,000 volunteers, God's Love cooks 8,000 meals from scratch in the organization's SoHo kitchen each weekday, and delivers them to client's homes or to neighborhood distribution centers. Each meal is designed to fit a client's condition, allergies, medications, ability to chew, and dietary restrictions. To qualify for the service, clients must have a chronic illness severe enough to limit their daily activities as verified by their doctor.
God's Love also provides food for clients' children and caregivers. Meals are designed not just to provide sustenance, but to live up to the charity's motto, “Food is medicine.” This May, as God's Love celebrates its 35th anniversary, it will deliver its 25 millionth meal.
The organization started in 1985 with a single delivery. A hospice volunteer named Ganga Stone brought a bag of groceries to Richard Sale, who was dying of AIDS. When she returned the next day, the bag was still sitting on his counter.
For Stone it was a watershed moment. People who were very ill didn't have the energy to cook for themselves. They needed someone to prepare meals for them. “She realized in that moment that delivering a meal to somebody who was that ill could bring dignity to a very desperate situation,” says Karen Pearl, God's Love president and CEO. The entire process exemplifies the organization's twin mottoes of “Food is medicine” and “Food is love.”
God's Love relies on the philanthropy of individuals, foundations, and corporations, which provide the majority of its funding. “We're lucky to have such a generous community supporting us,” Pearl says. So that no one who needs food ever has to wait for it, God's Love has continually expanded to keep up with the ever-growing demand for its services. “The commitment of finding the hardest to reach, serving those who need us, and not turning people away keeps us growing, year after year,” Pearl says.