Sunday Suppers continues to deeply impact families at our two sites, First Presbyterian Church in Germantown and Marie Bracetti Academy Charter School in the Juniata section of Philadelphia. This year we hosted both a fall and spring cohort at each site, holding graduation for 28 families.
I am pleased to announce that Sunday Suppers applied for and in March 2019, received our own 501(c)3 designation. We are now a wholly independent - no longer fiscally sponsored - nonprofit organization, with greater access to donor advised funds and other grant opportunities. As part of this designation, we have created a Board of Directors to govern and guide Sunday Suppers as we grow and serve more families in underserved neighborhoods. It is an impressive group of dedicated individuals who believe in our mission and the work we do. They each bring a unique perspective and skill set which, in the end, will make Sunday Suppers a stronger organization.
Also this year, Whole Foods rewarded our mission to teach healthy cooking techniques and eating behaviors to underserved families by naming us in their “Nickels for Nonprofits” program, where customers can bring reusable bags and donate that nickel to our program. Just another indication that the work of Sunday Suppers is getting recognized.
While we continue to maintain our two sites, late in this fiscal year we began a collaboration with Esperanza Health Center and Jefferson Lab to integrate our proven program into the medical model, so we can more concretely measure the power of food to improve health. Please stay tuned for more news on this exciting front!
I am grateful to everyone who has supported our organization and families in innumerable ways. We are making a difference in underserved communities. Our work would not be possible without your belief in our mission. Thank you for your continued support.
Our goal is to provide participants with the tools, knowledge, and confidence needed to successfully take control of their own health and wellbeing. With the family meal as the centerpiece of our program, we offer hands-on nutrition and cooking workshops, weekly dinners and take-home meal kits, kitchen equipment, and a fun and supportive environment. We partner with other community organizations to ensure that our families have access to complementary services, as we understand that they face a multitude of obstacles on their path to a healthier lifestyle.
What you eat can influence your overall health and risk for chronic disease. While certain foods may trigger chronic health conditions, others offer strong medicinal and protective qualities. For example, a diet abundant in plant foods, rich in healthy fats, whole grains, and vegetables can strengthen your health, while unhealthy diets high in sugary drinks, fast food, and refined grains are a main contributor to conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
The number of days families reported consuming...
The number of days families reported consuming...
Families also reported consuming sugary drinks less often after particpating in Sunday Suppers.
Comfort’s primary motivation for joining Sunday Suppers was the prevalence of heart disease within her family, the cause of several relatives’ deaths. For her children’s sake, Comfort decided to take a step toward breaking this vicious cycle so she could be around for many more years. Comfort, Will and their 8 children changed their dietary habits from eating no fresh vegetables at all, to incorporating them into their diet 5-7 days a week. The first time she walked into the fresh produce aisle at her grocery store was after trying Sunday Suppers’ healthier mac & cheese. She learned that substituting butternut squash for less dairy product eliminated some of the excess fat and sodium in traditional recipes. She was so excited that she was able to add more nutrients without sacrificing the taste, that she wanted to make it again at home for her family. Since then, she has been visiting the fresh produce aisle on every trip to the market!
Nate’s family joined Sunday Suppers because obesity, which runs in their family, is a major health concern for them. With an interest in cooking to begin with, Nate immediately took to Sunday Suppers. He came straight from school to cook in the kitchen to help prepare the weekly meal. On days when he wasn’t at Sunday Suppers, Nate would help his mother at home to prepare food for their family. At graduation, he was the recipient of the Sunday Suppers’ Junior Chef award. Nate is determined to work hard at school, to be a leader, and not let the challenges that he faces define him.
Our spring fundraiser in April celebrated the power of food to build bridges - bringing people and cultures together to create lasting relationships. We were honored to celebrate Cristina Martinez & Ben Miller of South Philly Barbacoa, whose restaurant gained national recognition in 2016 when they were named the 6th best restaurant in the United States by Bon Appetit. Cristina and Ben are committed to community, diversity, and respect of others, and they are always building bridges through their food, employment, and support of immigrants.
We are incredibly grateful to Feast Your Eyes Catering and FAME at MaKen Studios North for hosting our annual event and making it the success it was.
Sunday Suppers’ Founding Board of Directors was formed this year, after receipt of our 501(c)3 status. It is currently comprised of 5 individuals who are dedicated to our mission and desire to grow Sunday Suppers into an organization that can increase the number of communities and individuals we serve, while deepening our program to match the evolving needs of our participants.
Dia values family and wellbeing, and believes that families are strongest when they work together and care for one another. Dia has more than 20 years experience in the government, healthcare, higher education, and nonprofit sectors.
Sharon is a Sunday Suppers’ Founding Funder, having supported our organization since inception. Sunday Suppers’ mission to teach participants over a period of time is, in Sharon’s view, an organization worthy of financial and nonfinancial contributions. Sharon opened Bishop & Bishop, her own litigation consulting firm, in 2008.
Growing up and working in Philadelphia, Denisse has witnessed the distress families endure to simply make ends meet. Denisse brings over 10 years of HR experience, and believes the Sunday Suppers’ program is a perfect vehicle to help give back and strengthen communities.
Working and growing up in a culture that incorporates food into every aspect possible, Amanda believes that food and family go hand-in-hand. Amanda has dedicated 17+ years to nonprofit work in Philadelphia and Bucks County
A devoted cooking show follower and a self-proclaimed foodie, Monique believes in the power of food and family meals. Monique has 15+ years experience with nonprofits, and is a Principal & Founder of Civic Capital Consulting.
This past summer, in collaboration with Esperanza Health Center and the Jefferson University Health Design Lab, we implemented a six-week (12 session) family-centered health and nutrition pilot program; Recipe for Health. In addition to more targeted workshops on diabetes, high blood pressure, and emotional health, the number of physical activity sessions increased. Even though this was a compressed program, we again saw the impact we have demonstrated with our Sunday Suppers model – more nutritious dietary behaviors, indicators of improved health. In 2020, we will integrate this model into the new Esperanza Health Center building in the heart of Kensington, which will allow us not only report on behavioral changes, but also assess the degree to which they impact specific diseases, most notably diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Rooted in the mission of Sunday Suppers is the power of food to influence overall health, and to significantly impact health disparities in the communities we serve. Our ancestors knew this and structured their diets to optimize their health. There is growing research in the area of "food as medicine" to better quantify the magnitude of this essential link. Through Recipe for Health we intend to show that the integration of the Sunday Suppers model into community health centers can cut healthcare costs, improve patient outcomes, and give participants greater control over their health and wellbeing.