Most of my days are spent intensely focused on ensuring our Sunday Suppers’ families are receiving the kind of support they expect from our program: making sure our family meals run smoothly, that the curriculum continues to serve the specific needs of our families, and that our alumni and Peer Leadership programs provide opportunities for our graduates to expand their skill sets to become leaders at Sunday Suppers and in their communities. I am also focused on the future. As part of a multi-year plan, we set a goal of opening a new Sunday Suppers site each year and are now working to secure our third site. I have also been reaching out to donors and sponsors so that our program can continue to grow. Taking a moment now to reflect reminds me of the value of pausing and considering all that we achieved in the last year.
Our biggest accomplishment in 2018 was the opening of our second site in Germantown, at the First Presbyterian Church, enabling us to double the number of families we serve. We hosted our first cohort of Germantown families in the spring and continue to forge new relationships in that neighborhood.
With my background in cooking and non-profit health programs, I have always felt that improved eating habits would in turn improve health. While we have measured the behavioral changes that participants make, we have not examined specific health outcomes. This year, we heard from two individuals who told us they received great news from their doctors: their blood sugar levels had dropped significantly over 3-4 months. Since joining Sunday Suppers, one of our moms lost 12 pounds in three months and one teenage boy is no longer considered pre-diabetic. They shared that in the intervening months, the major aspect of each of their lives that had changed was joining Sunday Suppers and eating differently – eating healthier.
These two examples align with the ‘Food as Medicine’ movement which has gained attention in the last few years, with research showing the power of food to prevent and fight disease. Looking ahead, we will be examining ways to collaborate with community health centers and other medical providers to gauge their interest in “prescribing” Sunday Suppers to patients to augment their standard medication.
To summarize: it’s been a big year! Thank you to all who have supported our organization and our families. It is gratifying to know that we are making a difference in communities that need us and look forward to impacting more families in more neighborhoods in the future.